Gladstone Health Education Pathways Working Group

24 April 2024

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​Gladstone, like many other regional and rural centres, continues to face health workforce attraction, recruitment and retention challenges. One of the recommendations from the release of the Gladstone Health Plan in early 2023, was the formation of a working group to address a lack of student placements in the region. In response, the Gladstone Health Education Pathways Working Group (GHEPWG), was established in July 2023 with membership consisting of local universities, community organisations, health and non-government organisations and independent community members.

The role of the group is to identify, prioritise and mutually action activities that address health student placements and graduate opportunities across all disciplines in Gladstone with four key priority areas of:

  • The implementation of a Health Workforce Connector position to support the development of a 'homegrown' health workforce in the Gladstone region over a three-year period.

  • Facilitating work experience and clinical placement opportunities including developing the supervision capacity of the existing health workforce.

  • Supporting students and graduates source suitable accommodation whilst undertaking clinical placement in or relocating to Gladstone for employment.

  • Community support for students and graduates so they integrate into the local community and have a sense of belonging.

With a number of projects currently underway across these priority areas, the GHEPWG was pleased to partner with the University of Queensland (UQ) and Central Queensland Rural Health (CQRH) to deliver a Principles of Effective Clinical Supervision workshop in Gladstone during April, with a focus on developing the knowledge and confidence of local health practitioners (medical, nursing and allied health) in supervising university students on placements. The workshop was attended by nine local health professionals including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers and nurses. The interactive session was enjoyed by participants and found to be valuable to their clinical practice.

The GHEPWG is also excited about a recent announcement that the State Government has committed to funding a new Health Workforce Connector position for 12 months. This position will support the development of a ‘homegrown’ health workforce in the Gladstone region including:

  • Facilitation of work experience and clinical placement opportunities.

  • Evaluating the range and quality of clinical placement experiences available in the Gladstone region for medical, nursing and allied health students.

  • Fostering professional and social connections for students, interns, registrars, graduates and new-to the-area health professionals.

  • Developing and maintaining relationships with existing health professionals.