Rural recruitment vital for boosting local health workforce

Through a collaboration with the University of Melbourne School of Health Sciences and the Department of Rural Health, the Partnering for Impact event was held on Tuesday 14 February to meet with rural and regional health services and placement partners in Wangaratta.

Partnering for Impact with the University of Melbourne and health partners from across the region. Pictured from left are Professor Bruce Thompson, Dr De Witt Oosthuizen, Dominic Sandilands, Professor Marie Gerdtz, Libby Fifis, Kim Bennetts, Rebecca–Kate Oates and Professor Lisa Bourke.

With the pandemic changing the health needs of rural communities, it’s more important than ever to have local, trained professionals across all areas of allied health and nursing. Enhancing the workforce through professional development and training is one way to help improve the challenges the region is facing in accesses vital healthcare services.

It is also crucial to raise the profile of rural allied health and nursing careers to ensure the regions attract and retain the quality health professionals they need to address the shortage. Alongside the University of Melbourne Going Rural Health team, Professor Bruce Thompson (Head of the Melbourne School of Health Sciences) and Professor Marie Gertdz (Director of Nursing) visited the Ovens Murray region to talk to local health services and their staff, including senior management, to find out from those at the coalface the best way to address these issues.

As well as sharing the benefits of a career in health, the Professors, along with other Heads of Departments and allied health and nursing professionals from the Melbourne School of Health Sciences discussed health workforce shortages and why local recruitment is a key to a sustainable and vibrant workforce.

Topics discussed included the importance of rural allied health and nursing training and careers, rural staff retention, and working with local organisations to kickstart the change these communities need to see. A panel discussed also included a student's perspective on rural placement and what some of the barriers are.

The Partnering for Impact: Rural Nursing & Allied Health Collaboration event, is planned to be delivered again to continue discussions, support rural career development and address rural workforce challenges as a community -  for the betterment of the community.

This event was delivered by the University of Melbourne school of Health Sciences and Going Rural Health – a commonwealth funded initiative by the University of Melbourne Department of Rural Health that supports students on rural placement to benefit the rural and regional health workforce.

We thank our health service and placement partners  from across the region for attending on the night and we look forward to continue working alongside with those will take the reins in regional and rural health leadership.

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