Development and Evaluation of Strategies to Support Rural Secondments for Junior Physiotherapists






Rural workforce shortages are a national issue. One strategy is the use of secondments from larger healthcare sites to staff rural sites on a rotational basis. The purpose of this evaluation is to explore the impact of the development, implementation of an educational, training and supervision package for junior Physiotherapists undertaking rural secondments in Northern NSW.


Pre post evaluation of a training, education and supervision package to support junior Physiotherapists undertaking rural secondments across Northern NSW.  A baseline survey of Physiotherapists who had undertaken a secondment in the previous 12 months defined current practice and limitations. From this a targeted education, training and supervision package was developed. Post implementation surveying for a period of 12 months was undertaken to evaluate the packages implementation.


Statistically significant improvements in staff reporting they felt supported and were aware of escalation processes for patients under their care were reported. Additionally improvements were seen in staff reported access to and completing competencies relevant to their secondment.

Research implications

These findings provide guidance in regards to junior Physiotherapists working on rural secondments and the importance of structured education, training and support mechanisms.

Practical implications

The findings from this work support the development and implementation of structured education, training and supervision plans prior to undertaking rural secondments.


These findings provide evidence and support the need for structured and target training, education and supervision for staff undertaking rural secondments to ensure staff are confident to work in a rural setting.


Larger response rates for post implementation survey results may result in different outcomes being reported in comparison to pre implementation results.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ryan Mark Gallagher, Hunter New England Local Health District

Senior Physiotherapist John Hunter Hospital

Conjoint Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle


O'Sullivan, BG & Worley, P 2020, 'Setting priorities for rural allied health in Australia: a scoping review', Rural and remote health, vol. 20, no. 2, p. 5719.

Sheppard, L 2001, 'Work Practices of Rural and Remote Physiotherapists', Australian Journal of Rural Health, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 85-91.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2016, viewed 28 September 2021.

R Studio Team, 2020, RStudio: Integrated Development for R, Boston, MA.

Williams, E, D'Amore, W & McMeeken, J 2007, 'Physiotherapy in rural and regional Australia', Australian Journal of Rural Health, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 380-6.




How to Cite

van Balen, G., Smith , M., Parish, L., & Gallagher, R. M. (2022). Development and Evaluation of Strategies to Support Rural Secondments for Junior Physiotherapists. ealth ducation in ractice: ournal of esearch for rofessional earning, 5(1).