Evaluation of an Early Career Support Cluster

Daniel  Baker2, Dr Susan Waller1, , Amanda Alton3, Jane  O’Shanessy4

1Monash University Department Of Rural Health, Newborough, Australia, 2Bass Coast Health, Wonthaggi, Australia, 3Latrobe Regional Hospital, Traralgon, Australia, 4Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Bairnsdale, Australia


Background:In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria) awarded four grants to set up support cluster groups for early career allied health practitioners (ECAHP) in Gippsland Health Services. The aims of the groups were to support the transition of persons working in allied health from student to worker. The support clusters offered interdisciplinary professional and social support for ECAHP in various ways including education, discussion forums and resources in addition to existing general organisational orientation and discipline specific support.

Method:This was a mixed method study. ECAHP were invited to complete a short electronic survey regarding their understanding and experience of support for transition to work and participation in the cluster. Allied health managers and allied health peers participated in semi-structured interviews to explore their support for and experiences of resources related to transition to work for early career allied health staff. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed by the research team.

Results:Eighteen ECAHPs completed the survey and expressed satisfaction with the cluster support. Professional development was main outcome with participants also appreciating the interprofessional inaction of the forum. Three themes arose from the twenty interviews with allied health managers and staff, supervision, socialisation and support, a triple S framework. Activities and resources discussed in this framework will be presented.

Conclusion:For successful and supportive transition to work, early career allied health staff require a comprehensive and supportive framework as emerged from the evaluation. Sustainability of early career support requires dedicated staff and resourcing.


Daniel works as an allied health clinical educator at three health services in South Gippsland, Victoria, and has facilitated the South Gippsland Early Career Support Cluster since 2015. Prior to this role, Daniel has held a clinical role as a podiatrist in rural Victoria for 8 years, and has completed further studies in Public Health.

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