Growing demand for allied health services has translated to growing opportunities for students seeking healthcare careers outside the traditional medicine and dentistry degrees.
The sector is surging, with an ageing population and onset of chronic disease driving patient volumes, and a focus on prevention and new technologies improving outcomes.
Griffith University has responded by bringing three of its most-respected allied health programs–physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology–to Brisbane for the first time.
Professor Andrea Bialocerkowski, Griffith’s School of Allied Health Services Head, says the new degrees are great news for Brisbane students.
“Griffith has offered these programs on the Gold Coast for many years–we’re certainly not new to the game. From 2018 Brisbane students will benefit directly from our faculty’s experience and industry connectivity,” says Andrea.
Just as allied health professionals collaborate to deliver care, Griffith allied health students undertake interprofessional learning alongside one another.
“Students in these degrees learn with those studying other health degrees such as nutrition and dietetics, exercise physiology, medicine, nursing or pharmacy,” she says.
“Their collaboration provides a practical understanding of how their profession interacts and functions within the sort of multidisciplinary team that deliver healthcare today.”
While all three degrees have the power to change lives, Andrea says each has defining features that may help students choose which is best for them.
Demand for the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree is expected to grow with the National Disability Insurance Scheme coming online and the discipline’s emergence in schools and aged care facilities.
“This is a very future-focused degree and includes a focus on entrepreneurship and work-integrated learning that commences in the first trimester of study,” says Andrea.
Professor Matthew Molineux, head of occupational therapy at Griffith, explains how activities like knitting can help people develop cognitive and physical abilities and manage emotions.
Andrea says the new Bachelor of Physiotherapy is a streamlined replacement for Griffith’s highly regarded Master of Physiotherapy, which was offered for almost 20 years.
“The new degree caters for high school leavers and offers an extremely wide clinical placement network, extending from far north Queensland to Tasmania, as well as Griffith’s nationally renowned expertise in simulated learning.”
Master of Speech Pathology students, says Andrea, receive industry placement from their first trimester of study and tackle a curriculum focused on clinical immersion.
“Clinical immersion is a key aspect of the intensive two-year curriculum and students gain exposure to a variety of settings to work with adults and children,” Andrea says.
Find out more about studying health at Griffith.