The AHTA acknowledges the importance of having appropriate university students selected for hand therapy clinical placements to ensure that specialised training is provided to students who intend to work in the field. It is important for the public and the hand therapy profession that we have a small cohort at least, of new graduates with good basic hand therapy knowledge. This can only occur if public and private hand therapy clinics are supported to offer specialised placements which are matched to the appropriate students.
Hand therapy is a speciality area of advanced practice within the professions of occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Hand therapy practitioners working in the hospitals are highly specialised and therefore represent a valuable resource which needs to be utilised in the most efficient and effective way possible. The hand therapy profession relies on good communication and liaison with Universities so we can work hand in hand to provide a pathway for the development of Practitioners in Hand Therapy. The AHTA would like to support the initiative our members working in the field of hand therapy are suggesting to foster and maintain a relationship with universities. This initiative is designed to facilitate those students wanting to work in the area of hand therapy to gain the appropriate skills and knowledge required of a graduate through a clinical placement during their university years. Pairing student interest with the limited amount of hand therapy placements available will benefit the public, the student, the profession and the clinical supervisors. The AHTA would like to support the idea of matching students with the most appropriate clinical placement. The University of Canberra offers a ‘Get Ready To Graduate’ clinical placement which gives the student the chance to choose a specialised area to perform a placement in ensuring a student going on a hand therapy placement is interested in this specific area of work. It is felt that interviewing is too time consuming and impractical.
At the coal face of health care, it is imperative that we drive constant efficiency in the use of our time and allocation of staff resources. We have a strong desire to see hand therapy flourish in this country as we are already a world leader. In order for this to continue we need to make best use of and support our clinicians offering clinical placements to ensure the most appropriate students who desire to undertake a career in hand therapy are selected for placement.