Evaluation of the Allied Health Rural Generalist Program 2017-2019

Barker, Ruth, Chamberlain-Salaun, Jennifer, Harrison, Helena, Nash, Robyn, Nielsen, Ilsa, Harvey, Desley, Sim, Jenny, Ciccone, Natalie, Carr, Jennifer, Bird, Katrina, Palermo, Claire, and Devine, Sue (2021) Evaluation of the Allied Health Rural Generalist Program 2017-2019. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 29 (2). pp. 158-171.

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Objective: To evaluate the development and implementation of the Allied Health Rural Generalist Program, a two-level online post-graduate education program, which includes Level 1, an entry-level non-award pathway program, and Level 2, a Graduate Diploma in Rural Generalist Practice.

Design: A convergent mixed methodology evaluation in two overlapping stages: a process evaluation on quality and reach, together with a mixed method case study evaluation on benefits, of the program.

Setting: Rural and remote Australia across ten sites and seven allied health professions: dietetics; occupational therapy; pharmacy; physiotherapy; podiatry; radiography; speech pathology.

Participants: Process evaluation included 91 participants enrolled in all or part of the Rural Generalist Program. Case study evaluation included 50 managers, supervisors and Rural Generalist Program participants from the ten study sites.

Interventions: The Allied Health Rural Generalist Program.

Main outcome measures: Process evaluation data were derived from enrolment data and education evaluation online surveys. Case study data were gathered via online surveys and semi-structured interviews. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently, analysed separately and then integrated to identify consistency, expansion or discordance across the data.

Results: The Rural Generalist Program was viewed as an effective education program that provided benefits for Rural Generalist Program participants, employing organisations and consumers. Key improvements recommended included increasing profession-specific and context-specific content, ensuring Rural Generalist Program alignment with clinical and project requirements, strengthening support mechanisms within employing organisations and ensuring benefits can be sustained in the long term.

Conclusion: The Rural Generalist Program offers a promising strategy for building a fit-for-purpose rural and remote allied health workforce.

Item ID: 68533
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1584
Keywords: Australia, post-graduate education, professional development for rural practitioners, rural and remote services, rural workforce development, teaching and learning
Copyright Information: © 2021 National Rural Health Alliance Inc
Funders: Allied Health Professions Office of Queensland, Queensland Health
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2021 00:01
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4201 Allied health and rehabilitation science > 420199 Allied health and rehabilitation science not elsewhere classified @ 35%
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390199 Curriculum and pedagogy not elsewhere classified @ 33%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420321 Rural and remote health services @ 32%
SEO Codes: 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1603 Teaching and curriculum > 160301 Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum @ 50%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1602 Schools and learning environments > 160206 Workforce transition and employment @ 25%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 25%
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