The allied health early graduate education program: responding to changing graduate needs in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic

Ms Melissa Bartlett1, Ms Andrea Bramley1, Ms Debra Mitchell1

1Monash Health, Clayton, Australia

Introduction/background
The Monash Health Allied Health Early Graduate Education Program supports new allied health graduates in their transition from student to allied health professional in their first year of clinical practice. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the program needed to adapt quickly to meet changing organisational and health department requirements whilst still meeting our graduate’s educational and support needs.

Aim/objectives
Education sessions usually held face to face were transferred into an online format using remote meeting software.

Results/ Discussion
Engagement levels dropped dramatically when education moved to the online format. Graduates became noticeably fatigued and attendance levels dropped from approximately 95% to 75%.

Moving to more frequent, shorter sessions improved engagement and attendance. Graduates reported increased satisfaction and less fatigue with this change in format.

The Allied Health Early Graduate Advisor also implemented 1:1 individual meetings with all graduates. Some graduates were facing challenges that they felt unable to share in a group format when they were joining the meeting from an open plan office or other non-private space. The 1:1 meetings allowed graduates a safe space to discuss these issues and built rapport with the program advisor/facilitator.

Issues/questions for exploration or ideas for discussion: Delivering remote graduate education offers the potential to increase access and efficiency however strategies are required to mitigate drawbacks such as increased cognitive load and decreased participation and peer connection. How can we effectively merge our learnings from the pandemic with existing knowledge of best practice education moving forward?


Biography:

Melissa Bartlett is the Allied Health Early Graduate Education Advisor at Monash Health in Victoria. Melissa has a Social Work background, having completed her Bachelor of Social Work at Monash University in 1998 and Masters of Work in 2004, also at Monash University. Melissa has worked in a variety of clinical social work roles throughout her career. In 2005 she commenced working at Monash Health as a Senior Clinician and set up the Emergency Department social work service at the newly opened Casey Hospital in Berwick. In 2007 she became the Social Work Manager at Casey Hospital and remained in that role for several years. She has been the Allied Health Early Graduate Education Advisor at Monash Health since October 2016 and is very passionate in her role supporting Allied Health clinicians in their first year of practice.

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