A Federal Government grant will lead to improved care of Western Australian patients by supporting a fivefold increase in student placements in underserviced primary healthcare and aged care facilities.
The $885,000 Department of Health and Ageing Clinical Training grant will support 814 interprofessional student placements and more than 106,000 training hours in the underserviced areas of obesity, chronic pain, mental health, wound care, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease, diabetes and early intervention services.
The funding, secured in partnership, will benefit students from Curtin University, the Aboriginal health worker training group Marr Mooditj, WA General Practitioner Education and Training Group (WAGPET) and the University of Notre Dame’s medical school.
Students will have the opportunity to learn with, from and about each other’s health disciplines from the start of the 2011 academic year by undertaking small group placements in metropolitan clinical settings.
Health disciplines include registered nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dieticians, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists, enrolled nurses, doctors and nurse practitioners.
Associate Professor Sue Jones, Faculty of Health Science Dean of Teaching and Learning said the fieldwork placements were transforming student practice.
“By breaking down the silos between health disciplines, we’re creating better healthcare teams where students gain a better understanding of where their skills and attributes fit within the overall care of a client,” Professor Jones said.
“Students will be exposed to a range of clinical settings and experiences to train them in primary and preventative healthcare, not only in hospitals but also in underserviced and isolated clinical settings to increase their capabilities.
“The training will help meet the future challenges of providing a collaborative health workforce to support the community.”
Applicants for the funding had to demonstrate how they could increase clinical training places and hours for health professional students with emphasis placed on areas of unmet or undermet need, including interprofessional placements, private practice and aged care.
Curtin University is pioneering a range of interprofessional education initiatives within the Faculty of Health Sciences, to prepare emerging health professionals to be industry ready and immediately employable on graduation.