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Innovative solutions to skill shortages in health: research and practice

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 08:41 authored by Susan KilpatrickSusan Kilpatrick, Johns, S, Millar, P, Le, Q, Georgina, R
As government and industry grapple with health skill shortages, attention has turned to the role of the vocational education and training (VET) sector. This sector has the potential to address skill shortages in two key ways: by identifying and training new VET health workers in order to meet projected skill shortages, and by upskilling VET-trained health workers to allow for task shifting to them from health professionals, where appropriate. Australian and international research and practice indicates that rural and remote areas have become home to a set of innovative service delivery models related to multi-skilling and upskilling health workers, as well as a range of community-based solutions involving collaborations between local stakeholders. Many of these models are underpinned by customised vocational education and training solutions. This paper reports findings from a project funded by the National Council for Vocational Education Research. It begins by considering Australian statistics and literature on the structure of the national health workforce and perceived skill shortages. Following a brief overview of Australian and international literature on innovative and effective models for addressing health skill shortages, the project methodology is outlined. A synthesis and discussion of findings from the literature and nominations of models by key health sector stakeholders is presented. This includes barriers, enhancers, features of effective models and criteria for good practice. The paper concludes with implications for policy and practice.


Publication status

  • Published

Event title

The 9th National Rural Health Conference 2007

Event Venue

Albury, NSW, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


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Suggested citation: Kilpatrick SI, Johns SS, Millar P, Le Q, Routley G. Innovative solutions to skill shortages in health: research and practice. Conference proceedings of the 9th National Rural Health Conference, 7 - 10 Mar 2007, Albury, NSW. CD-ROM.

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