Assisting role redesign: a qualitative evaluation of the implementation of a podiatry assistant role to a community health setting utilising a traineeship approach

Moran, Anna M. and Nancarrow, Susan A. and Wiseman, Leah and Maher, Kerryn and Boyce, Rosalie A. and Borthwick, Alan M. and Murphy, Karen (2012) Assisting role redesign: a qualitative evaluation of the implementation of a podiatry assistant role to a community health setting utilising a traineeship approach. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 5. Article 30. ISSN 1757-1146

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Abstract

Increasing demands for podiatry combined with workforce shortages due to attrition, part-time working practices and rural healthcare shortages means that in some geographical areas in Australia there are insufficient professionals to meet service demand. Although podiatry assistants have been introduced to help relieve workforce shortages there has been little evaluation of their impact on patient, staff and/or service outcomes. This research explores the processes and outcomes of a 'trainee' approach to introducing a podiatry assistant (PA) role to a community setting in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government Health Service Directorate.

Method
A qualitative methodology was employed involving interviews and focus groups with service managers, qualified practitioners, the assistant, service users and consumer representatives. Perspectives of the implementation process; the traineeship approach; the underlying mechanisms that help or hinder the implementation process; and the perceived impact of the role were explored. Data were analysed using the Richie and Spencer Framework approach.

Results
Although the impact of the PA role had not been measured at the time of the evaluation, the implementation of the PA traineeship was considered a success in terms of enabling the transfer of a basic foot-care service from nursing back to podiatry; releasing the Enrolled Nurses (ENs) from foot-care duties; an increase in the number of treatments delivered by the podiatry service; and high levels of stakeholder satisfaction with the role. It was perceived that the transfer of the basic foot-care role from nursing to podiatry through the use of a PA impacted con communication and feedback loops between the PA and the podiatry service; the nursing-podiatry relationship; clinical governance around the foot-care service; and continuity of care for clients through the podiatry service. The traineeship was considered successful in terms of producing a PA whose skills were shaped by and directly met the needs of the practitioners with whom they worked. However, the resource intensiveness of the traineeship model was acknowledged by most who participated in the programme.

Conclusions
This research has demonstrated that the implementation of a PA using a traineeship approach requires good coordination and communication with a number of agencies and staff and substantial resources to support training and supervision. There are added benefits of the new role to the podiatry service in terms of regaining control over podiatric services which was perceived to improve clinical governance and patient pathways.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2012 Moran et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2013 06:16
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2014 23:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: traineeships; foot care; podiatry services;
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920205 Health Education and Promotion
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1186/1757-1146-5-30
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/22365

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