An Allied Health transition-to-professional program design: understanding the allied health graduates’ transition experience

Ms Andrea Verde1, Ms Kathy Maggs1, Dr Joanne Wrench1, A/Prof Robyn Woodward-Kron2, Mr Rob LoPresti1, Ms Brit Gordon1

1Austin Health, Heidelberg, Australia, 2Medical Education, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

Allied Health graduates face expectations and pressures from employers to be able to transition to the complex and busy work environment ‘practice-ready’. Graduate programs to ease this transition are common in nursing and medicine, but in Australia, it is much less common to find structured allied health graduate programs.

This qualitative study explored the allied health graduate’s transition experience to identify the development needs in this transition period, and to understand the limitations of workplace-based learning. Perspectives of both graduates and supervisors were explored. A suitable allied health, interprofessional transition program could then be designed to support graduates.

Separate allied health graduates and supervisors focus groups were conducted in a major, tertiary teaching hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

A key finding was the difference in expectations that exist between graduates and supervisors. Graduates internalised a high expectation of themselves to be able to do it all and, to the standard of their colleagues. This led to hesitancy in seeking help or support. Supervisors held an expectation that graduates completed their degree practice ready but acknowledged the many areas of growth required in the transition phase. This led to an expectation that graduates would proactively seek help as needed, more autonomously than when they were students. This differing set of expectations accounted for many of the challenges. A second key finding was the support requirements – most notably peer support. Lastly, the learning needs identified by both graduates and supervisors were not of clinical expertise.

Allied Health graduates require support through their transition phase when entering the workforce. Support strategies should be multi-faceted and include opportunities for peer support and networking. A transition support program should equally focus on the non-technical needs (such as time management, prioritisation, difficult communication and understanding supervision) as improving clinical expertise for a smooth and positive transition.


Andrea Verde

Allied Health Clinical Educator (sciences)

With over ten years experience in the Victorian health sector, Andrea has a passion for robust staff education and learning opportunities that support them to provide high quality patient care.

As the Allied Health educator (sciences) at Austin Health, Andrea works with the sciences to implement evidence-based learning opportunities, utilising her Masters’ of Clinical Education qualification.

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