A clinical scholarship program to improve capacity among palliative care health professionals in Victoria, Australia

Margaret Mary O'Connor, Louise Audrey Peters

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Over the past two decades in Australia, there has been significant change in the palliative care sector, the profile of the workforce and its educational requirements. This is reflective of worldwide developments, where educational aspects of palliative care have been integral to the development of service models. This paper describes a project undertaken by the Department of Health in Victoria Australia, to redirect its educational funding towards clinical scholarships to enable clinicians to undertake postgraduate academic studies. The aim of this project was to assess the impact of the Clinical Scholarship Program funding for recipients who undertook postgraduate studies in palliative care. As part of quality assurance, an online survey was distributed to Scholarship recipients across 2 cohorts spanning the years 2008?2010. Recipients were surveyed for the impact and outcomes of their participation in the program. Twenty one-year scholarships for each year (2008?2010), were available to medical, nursing, and allied health professionals currently working in Victoria?s public palliative care service system, undertaking postgraduate study in approved courses. Analysis of the data indicated that of most significance was the benefit to the individual, in terms of the impact of study on their professional and personal life and the low rates of employment turnover. Participants also indicated their improved capacity to provide high-quality palliative care services. For the Department of Health this small investment has demonstrated great benefit; and for the palliative care sector it achieved a significant impact enabling an increase in educational opportunities to enhance capacity and capability of the workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-263
Number of pages6
JournalProgress in Palliative Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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