“Is that what Happens in the Cocoon?” When Discipline-specific Healthcare Practitioners Attempt to Metamorphose into Holistic Advanced Health Practitioners

By Melanie Wells.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Australia, a new role is emerging for Advanced Health Practitioners as the healthcare workforce is reformed. This paper will share about the challenges and opportunities Gold Coast Health Service District.
The Gold Coast Health Service District has secured funding from the Queensland Allied Health Workforce Advice and Co-ordination Unit to explore a new Allied Health work role–the Advanced Health Practitioner., “will this role improve patient care and help to meet the challenges and increasing demands on our health system?”
Our project team have been part of a multidisciplinary team who have been exploring the concept of “trans-disciplinary practice” with the Advanced Health Practitioner role. The aim is to provide patients with timely and appropriate access to allied health services and create an efficient service which addresses patient needs and improves patient outcomes.
In exploring the role of Advanced Health Practitioner, we have found our stay in the cocoon to be quite controversial. It has produced many challenges and some unique opportunities. Challenges have related to: (i) he dominance of discipline-specific allied health cultures and our reluctance to explore change; (ii) he reality of change management; and(iii) the limited research into this particular model of workforce redesign. However, there have been a number of opportunities, which include: (i) ew career pathways for allied health; (ii) promotion of allied health services in the medical system; (iii) trans-disciplinary education and training; (iv) advancing clinical and leadership skills in the health field; and (v) improved coordination and enhanced access to allied health professionals and services for patients.
Our time in the cocoon continues and we are still undergoing transformation. When we emerge, will our colleagues view us as new and beautiful butterflies or ugly, unwanted pests? This paper will seek to explore this question and examine the challenges, opportunities and benefits for patient care.

Keywords: Advanced Health Practitioner, Trans-disciplinary Care, Workforce Redesign

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.157-162. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 740.117KB).

Melanie Wells

Advanced Health Practitioner Aged Care - Trial Officer, Allied Health, Queensland Health, Gold Coast, Queenlsand, Australia

Melanie completed her Bachelor of Social Work at University of Queensland and is currently working as an Advanced Health Practitioner-Trial Officer Role for the Gold Coast Health Service District, Queensland Health. She has had 13 years experience in a variety of settings within the Private and Public sectors including the provision of clinical and educative roles in Acute Medical, Medical Rehabilitation, and Mental Health. Her current clinical practice focuses on service delivery for aged care patients in the acute medical setting.