Redeployment of allied health professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic: What can we learn from experiences of this “once in a lifetime” event?

Dr Danielle Hitch1, Mr.  Christopher Weiers1, Ms.  Sally  Brinkmann1

1Western Health, Sunshine, Australia

Many health professionals were redeployed into new roles during the Covid-19 pandemic, often outside their professional scope. At Western Health, the majority of redeployed staff were managed through a centralised process, however some staff members were redeployed before it was established or via informal processes. The lack of evidence around the redeployment of allied health professions (for any reason) raises the risk of inefficient and ineffective practices, which may have a negative impact on employee health and wellbeing. This study aimed to understand the experience of redeployed allied health professionals, to identify key facilitators and areas for improvement.  Participants were invited to take part in semi structured interviews, and responses from the 14 allied health professionals recruited will be discussed in this presentation. Data from each interview was coded independently by two research team members, and thematically analysed for common and comparative experiences. Allied health professionals described more positive redeployment experiences when they (1) were involved in or consulted about redeployment destinations, (2) felt supported in their new roles through orientation and supervision processes, (3) felt the reasons for redeployment were clearly communicated, (4) could identify how their new role provided career development opportunities, (5) perceived their role made a significant impact on the services’ Covid-19 response and (6) understood how long they their redeployment would last. These findings highlight the important of inclusive approaches and clear communication, providing a good practice framework relevant to a range of future situations where allied health professional redeployment may be required.


Biography:

The authors are all members of the Allied Health workforce at Western Health in Melbourne. Dr. Danielle Hitch is the Allied Health Research and Translation Lead. Christopher Weiers is the Manager of the Allied Health Strategy, Planning, Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) Unit. Sally Brinkmann is the Manager of Speech Pathology and Audiology. Both Dr. Hitch and Ms. Brinkmann were also members of the service-wide Covid-19 response team during 2020.

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