The research projects in this area focus on rural workforce including the current and future workforce needs.

It looks at the preparation of future rural health professionals, crossing over with the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching research.  Research projects also looks at what impacts the rural health workforce including recruitment, retention and quality. This research area overlaps with many other within and external to the VVM Research Centre.

Workforce Lead  Contact :  Professor Carol McKinstry

Centre Staff  and Student Projects

Early Career Physiotherapy Transition

This PhD research is about early career (from new graduate, up to and including the first 3 years of practice) physiotherapy transition, focusing on the desirable attributes of these professionals in regional, rural, and remote workplace settings.

HDR Student: Rachael McAleer

Supervisors: Emeritus Professor Amanda Kenny and Associate Professor Lisa Hanson

The 3Rs Nursing Workforce Study: What factors influence nurses to stay or leave?

The focus of the study will change from early career registered nurses to the broader nursing workforce to include registered nurses, registered nurse/midwives, enrolled nurses, and nurse practitioners. The study will explore the factors that influence nurses to stay or leave the nursing workforce. The findings of the study will be used to develop a suite of mitigation strategies for health services to use to improve retention

HDR Student: Maureen Dillon

Supervisors: Professor Jane Mills, Associate Professor Lisa Hanson and Dr Helen Wright (James Cook Uni)

Implementing effective clinical supervision for allied health professionals.

This PhD research aimed to increase understanding of what influences the effectiveness of clinical supervision for allied health professionals practicing in a regional setting using an action-orientated research methodology including surveying allied health professionals and piloting a group supervision program.

HDR Student: Marcus Gardner

Supervisors: Professor Carol McKinstry, Associate Professor Byron Perrin

The experience of student mental ill health and suicide for rural and regional secondary school teachers

The PhD research aimed to explore the experiences of rural and regional secondary school teachers with students at risk of mental illness, and those experiencing depression, anxiety, early psychosis and suicide risk.  277 teachers from 27 secondary schools in Loddon Mallee and Gippsland responded to a survey with over 90% reporting having students with depression and anxiety in their class and 11% having a student experiencing early psychosis in their class.

PhD Student: Siann Bowman

Supervisors: Professor Carol McKinstry, Adjunct Associate Professor Linsey Howie

Early career paramedics’ experiences of practicing in rural areas and their perspectives about their mental health care needs

This project aims to explore early career paramedics’ experiences of practicing in rural areas and their perspectives about their mental health care needs. Paramedics who have commenced practice in rural NSW in the last 5 years will be interviewed about their experiences.

Research Team:  Kylie Carra, Dr Jayden Hunter, Associate Professor Brett Gordon, Sandy MacQuarrie (Griffith University and Charles Sturt University), Professor Carol McKinstry

Exploring how social work is perceived in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands.

This research seeks to explore the community perceptions of social work and social workers perception of social work to gain a more nuanced understanding of the profile of the social work profession in Australia, and internationally. This involves exploring rural, regional and metropolitan geographical areas in which social work in Australia takes place. Findings of public opinion research undertaken in other parts are the world are encouraging and assist to develop a blueprint for the future of Australian social work services, as well as providing a baseline for further research in this important policy area. The intention as a research group is to compare and discuss findings from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, The Netherlands and South Africa, providing an international comparison.

Research Team: Dr Natasha Long, Dr Corina Modderman

Exploring locked facilities in Victorian and Tasmanian mental health services relating to workforce and service delivery

Research Team: Professor Phil Maude, Adam Searby, Russell James.

The Impact of Covid-19 Visitor Restrictions, particularly on advocacy.

This study aimed to understand and describe the impacts of health service and Residential Aged Care Facility (RACFs) visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic on consumers, families and carers within the Loddon Mallee Region, particularly relating to advocacy.  Key findings included: Assess restrictions on a case by case process – not one rule for all; One support person should ALWAYs be allowed; Visitors in RACs provide vital support and care; Allow volunteers to continue working; Children under 12 should be allowed to accompany parents; Employ staff to answer phones / monitor doors; Create safe places to meet – outside areas, visitor rooms with glass; Improve communication – too much confusion about rules that frequently changed and differed between health services

Research Team: Professor Carol McKinstry, Dr Angela Crombie, Meagan-Jane Adams, Sarah McAdie, Sally Fraser, Jack Dexter, Tania Barns, Lynn Wolfe, Phil Catterson, Helen Edwards, Janet Wood, Tara Cramer, Margaret Colliver, Gwen Campbell.

A systematic review on interventional studies for people presenting with mental health symptoms to ambulance services in rural and urban settings.

The review will bring benefits to ambulance/paramedic workforce, patients and the public through a better understanding and awareness of effective mental health interventions and intervention components for ambulance services. The findings will inform the development and evaluation of mental health services within both rural and regionals settings.

Research Team: Kate Emond and researchers from University of Lincoln and Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health

Building a rural health workforce: supporting mature-aged nursing and allied health students

This study is seeking to explore the supports that rural mature-aged nursing and allied health students need to be successful in undertaking higher education courses. Gaps in support, enablers and barriers have been identified through collective data from students and university staff on three regional campuses.

Research Team: Dr Claire Quilliam,