Exploring the professional support practices of allied health in a regional hospital and health service

Ms Carly Maurer1, Ms  Inga  Alexander1

1Central Queensland Hospital And Health Service, Rockhampton , Australia

Participation in professional support is important to improve quality of clinical practice, reduce risk and facilitate continuous improvement. Commitment to supporting clinicians and managers to achieve a high standard of professional support practices is a workforce development priority for Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CQHHS).

To explore the professional support practices of allied health, a survey was developed to ascertain the type, quantity and quality of professional support practices occurring regardless of career stage, role and/or location. All allied health professionals and assistants in CQHHS (n = 328) were invited to complete the 28 item mixed-method evaluation survey. This was followed by 60 minute semi-structured interviews with 13 allied health managers.

The survey was completed by 226 respondents from four locations across Central Queensland (Rockhampton/Capricorn Coast, Gladstone, Banana and Central Highlands), representing a response rate of 69%. Key findings from the survey included a high level of participation in professional support activities including supervision, peer group supervision, practice observation, and self-reflection. However, there was inconsistent understanding of the governance frameworks for professional support and the benefits of participation. The need for more targeted education and training about professional support, and for professional supervision for both supervisees and supervisors, was also highlighted.

From the semi-structured interviews three initiatives were identified as global priorities to improve allied health professional support practices including recording of professional support practices, supervision education and training, and evaluation of supervision/mentoring arrangements. Individual professions and/or work unit areas have identified other specific initiatives to support their teams.


Carly Maurer works as a Director Allied Health at Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service. Carly graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (First Class Honours) in 2004. Carly has assumed clinical, managerial, education and research roles in tertiary, regional and remote settings in Queensland and Western Australia. In recent years, Carly has taken on leadership roles and responsibilities in clinical governance, workforce development and clinical education.


Inga Alexander is a Senior Occupational Therapist who currently holds the occupational therapy clinical education portfolio for Central Queensland and Central West Hospital and Health Services. Inga graduated from James Cook University in 2008 and has since undertaken further postgraduate studies in sexology through Curtin University, Western Australia. Inga has performed clinical, education and leadership roles in a variety of hospital and community settings, across government and private sectors of regional and remote Queensland and Western Australia.

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