The risk and opportunity of employing part time clinical staff in allied health

Ms Deb Mitchell1, Ms Samantha  Sevenhuysen1, Mr Ben Smith1

1Monash Health , Clayton , Australia

 

Aim: A perceived increase in the proportion of part time clinical staff providing allied health services to inpatient areas was identified as a risk to the program.  Drivers were identified as the proportion of female worker returning to part time work after maternity leave.

Method:  A mixed methods approach was used.  Quantitative measures included the change in proportion of part time staff over time.  Interviews were undertaken with managers and part time staff in flexible return to work arrangements.

Results:

Analysis of human resources data showed that the proportion of casual employees was increasing, full time decreasing and part time staying stable.

Qualitative data collected suggested that part time staff can be an asset to an Allied Health department, retaining high quality, experienced and motivated staff.  Flexible return to work will continue to be a challenge for managers, particularly in negotiating appropriate roles and providing and tracking back fill.  Part time roles are also challenging for managers in ensuring junior staff and students have the supervision and support they need and in managing large numbers of individual staff.

The Monash Health Allied Health staff interviewed who work in part time roles reported high levels of engagement and satisfaction with their work overall, particularly those who were past the early stages returning to work after maternity leave.

Significance of finding to allied health:

Whilst offering part time work may result in some challenges for manager, it is one strategy that Allied Health could consider to attract and retain high quality, experienced staff.