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Mount Isa allied health professional becomes the first in the country to complete the Allied Health Rural Generalist Program
Andric Lu, physiotherapist and Manager of Quality and Service Improvement at North West Hospital and Health Service (HHS) has recently become the first allied health professional in the country to complete all three levels of the Allied Health Rural Generalist Program.
Dedicated to rural and remote healthcare since starting his career as an allied health professional in 2016, Andric continues to push barriers and take the opportunity to create change in our local communities, with his most recent achievement a reflection of his commitment to rural and remote healthcare.
After working through the program over the last few years and most recently completing level three over the last twelve months, Andric said it has intensely developed his leadership, management and mentoring skills.
“There are challenges that are unique to rural and remote work, with nuances for the communities you work in. There is so much opportunity to create change and the impact you can have on consumers and community in rural areas is much more noticeable than in metro areas,” he said.
“Building a sustainable and valued allied health workforce is important to continue to meet the needs of our communities and having a program that provides a pathway for advancing academic and clinical expertise in a wide range of settings is invaluable.”
Throughout his studies, Andric completed many assignments and also a service development project, with a formal plan and governance process which explored improving access and service delivery through an inpatient telehealth physiotherapy model of care.
“This opportunity has given me the skills, knowledge and experience to not only understand the challenges of rural health, but also to become a leader for change and innovation in its systems.”
Andric’s rural experience has also been recognised by tertiary education centres where he has been involved in a series of qualitative studies that investigated pre-professional training and readiness for rural practice for undergraduate and new graduate students, including their perceptions of rural practice, skills to work rurally and their training needs.
He is also an invited lecturer at the University of Queensland and Bond University to provide education about rural and remote practice and safety and quality in healthcare.
“The work has continued to challenge me regardless of where I have been along my development journey. I would not have had the opportunities I have had if I wasn’t working rurally and encourage anyone considering rural work to take the step and join us.”
North West HHS Chief Executive Craig Carey said this was a significant achievement and an important pathway supporting the career progression of allied health professionals.
“We are pleased to support the growth and development of our workforce locally and congratulate Andric on achieving this milestone,” he said.
“Completion of the program signifies a wonderful personal achievement and importantly enables staff to play a greater role in our local community and contribute to improving the delivery of health services to rural and remote patients.”