Clinical Education of Speech-Language Pathologists in Remote Areas of Australia

Author: Nanthini Kanthan

Kanthan, Nanthini, 2017 Clinical Education of Speech-Language Pathologists in Remote Areas of Australia, Flinders University, School of Medicine

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Abstract

The Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) workforce has continued to grow across Australia. There are challenges for Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) who are working in remote areas of Australia due to unique factors. Appropriate clinical education and training for working in remote contexts are part of the specifically focused efforts for many medical and nursing student cohorts; but not SLP as yet. This original research used a mixed-methods design to explore the demography of the Australian SLP workforce and their current clinical education in tertiary settings. Australian census data was analysed to examine the workforce demography and trends to provide a framework to understand the nature of the workforce and to plan for it. SLP curricula outlines from Australian universities were obtained and semi-structured interviews with clinical educators completed to examine the current clinical education environment and perceptions of remote area practice. A pilot study was also completed in Northern Sweden using the same semi-structured interview format with health professional clinical educators including SLPs to provide a comparative view of clinical education in remote contexts. Analysis of research data indicated that the SLP workforce in Australia is growing in remote areas with new graduates and early career SLPs and that clinical education for practice in the remote context is still in its infancy within the profession.

Keywords: Speech Pathology, remote/rural practice, demography, clinical education, workforce, recruitment, retention, allied health
Subject: Speech Pathology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: School of Medicine
Supervisor: Professor Adrian Schoo