A student placement collaboration between Monash Rural Health and Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS) is seeing numerous students go on to become staff at LCHS, adding quality to the local health workforce.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed between the organisations has helped to grow student placement numbers at LCHS exponentially since it was signed in 2009.
In the past few years around 12 new employees have joined LCHS after having completed their placements through the innovative program known as PERU (Placements Education and Research Unit), including four in more recent months.
The success of PERU involves a team effort from Monash Rural Health and LCHS, is supported by the directors of both organisations and includes on-the-ground administration provided by LCHS.
Last year the program was moved to the People, Learning & Culture department of LCHS and Dr Waller said the move had strengthened links between staff and students. She said ongoing evaluation of the program had shown the program was effective and well regarded by students.
“We get good feedback from students who say their supervision was appropriate and helpful and they felt welcome at LCHS,” she said.
As part of its commitment to PERU, Monash Rural Health is involved in the student planning process, provides educational leadership, trains LCHS in the supervision of students, runs simulated clinics for students and, with the support of Monash Rural Health Research Fellow Dr Anske Robinson, increases and enhances research at LCHS.
LCHS Acting Senior Manger People, Learning & Culture Jacqueline Eddy said LCHS regarded PERU as a valuable recruitment stream, with large numbers of high quality students participating.
“As supervisors of these students we also experience a personal level of satisfaction,” Ms Eddy said. “We get to watch and support them in building their skills and applying those skills in a practical way in the workplace.”
New employee Venus Brammall said she had first-hand experience of the benefits provided by PERU to students at LCHS.
The Monash Bachelor of Business and Commerce student, who lives locally, spent six months in placement at LCHS this year and this month has taken on a role within People, Learning and Culture at the organisation.
“I felt really well supported and it helped to grow my skills in Human Resources,” she said, adding that LCHS had been flexible in accommodating her ongoing study commitments within her new position.
“PERU can certainly support students who come through the corporate area of LCHS,” Dr Waller said.
Students hosted by LCHS have more recently gone to become staff working across drug and alcohol treatment services, podiatry, counselling, human resources and occupational therapy.