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Making mental health practitioners workforce ready

Victoria Stewart (Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Jann Fielden (School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Michelle Harris (Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Amanda Wheeler (Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, and Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 14 September 2012




Mental health workforce development is crucial to successful mental health care reform. A postgraduate programme was developed in 2008 at Griffith University, Australia, to address this need. The programme was developed with an interprofessional focus and in an online format to ensure access for people with work or other commitments or living in rural and remote areas. This paper aims to describe the programme and outcomes of the evaluation.


The research involved mixed methods using semi‐structured interviews, brief sturctured interviews and a survey to allow triangulation of data. Ten people (two graduates and eight external key informants) were interviewed, 21 students who had withdrawn participated in a brief telephone interview and 20 current students completed the survey.


Overall the programme was viewed as providing a relevant contemporary qualification for the mental health sector. The online delivery offered flexibility, the interdisciplinary approach to learning was appreciated and the work‐based placements were highly valued. Mixed teaching‐learning modes employing a combination of online and supervised work‐based experience most effectively facilitated consolidation of knowledge in graduates. Enrolling students from a range of disciplines facilitates interdisciplinary learning, enhancing students' ability to understand other health professional's perspectives and work more effectively as a team.


Mental health tertiary programmes need to have a clear focus and understanding of the workforce needs, include work based learning experiences and address discipline specific as well as interdisciplinary learning needs to ensure students are work‐ready on graduation.



Stewart, V., Fielden, J., Harris, M. and Wheeler, A. (2012), "Making mental health practitioners workforce ready", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 124-132.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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