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Working well: Tailoring a workforce development model to deliver sustained improvements in community controlled healthcare

‘Working Well’ aims to develop evidence-informed, tailored workforce systems and processes to support sustained improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled primary healthcare service provision with a demonstration project at Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service (Gurriny), Yarrabah, Queensland.

Associate Professor Roxanne Bainbridge will work in partnership with Associate Professor Janya McCalman to lead the ‘Working well’ project. Roxanne is a Gungarri researcher from south-west Queensland. She will provide strategic project oversight, and cultural mentoring and guidance. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and involvement in day-to-day coordination includes project officers, Dr Sandy Campbell and Ms Alicia Hari. Alicia is a health promotion officer at Gurriny. Ms Ruth Fagan will provide project oversight at Gurriny and facilitation of community-based data collection. Other Gurriny staff members (management, clinical, SEWB, operational services), of whom 83 per cent are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, will be offered opportunities to engage as co-researchers through community consultations, knowledge sharing and continuous quality improvement (CQI) processes.

Active involvement of Gurriny staff in developing their own solutions will maximise benefits and embed new knowledge in practice and policy as the research progresses. The workforce development model will potentially be used by Gurriny to improve its current workforce by implementing and monitoring effective, acceptable and practical strategies and informing further routine collection of indicators to enable monitoring.

The Yarrabah community will benefit from a health workforce that is adaptable to changing health needs and service delivery environments; optimising access to health care; and continuing to build cultural safety and responsiveness. The main benefits will include a documented blueprint of conditions and strategies, and how they link to form a tailored workforce model.

‘Working Well’ is embedded in a collaborative strengths-based model with engagement and translation at the heart of the methodology. The project will engage with additional Indigenous health services to ensure research relevance, rigorous and ethical practice, and impact.

The ‘Working well’ research comprises three steps:

  1. Systematic scoping review of the literature to identify Indigenous primary healthcare workforce models in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, their enabling conditions, strategies and impacts
  2. Retrospective mapping of change in workforce characteristics against evidence-informed workforce management systems (2014-2017)
  3. CQI sessions with staff and key stakeholders to interrogate what works well, what does not, and how improvements can be made. Grounded theory analysis will be used to develop a transferable workforce model.

The tailored workforce model collaboratively developed in this research will provide knowledge to inform practice and advocacy for enhanced health workforce capability and systems to optimise sustained healthcare improvements in Australia’s largest discrete Aboriginal community. The ‘Working Well’ Gurriny demonstration project, to be completed by 31 October 2018, will produce a blueprint of the enabling conditions and strategies required for best practice workforce model for community controlled health services across Australia.

Created: 29 January 2018 - Updated: 30 January 2018