Professional Development

Professional Development

The UCRH is committed to the recruitment and retention of health workforce professionals. We provide the latest, evidence based and best practice focused training and seminars.

UCRH services both private and public sector clinicians from a wide range of health science professions. CBT training services our mental health practitioners and associates, Allied Health encourages and engages Interdisciplinary interaction and the simulation centre provides continuing professional development across medicine, GP, anaesthetics, nursing and aged care.

Retention and recruitment of quality staff, and therefore enriched health services for the community is considered by the UCRH as one of our key performance drivers and as such we are committed to the quality of our service provision in the area of professional development.

Factors affecting the recruitment and retention of Allied Health Professionals in rural New South Wales

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) make a valuable contribution to health care through diagnostic and preventive services as well as delivering therapies ranging from speech therapy for children with autism to physiotherapy to help keep elderly people out of hospital.

Yet there is a shortage of AHPs in rural Australia, and a consequent need to understand how to attract and retain them in rural practice.

Our research surveyed nearly 2,000 AHPs working in rural NSW and interviewed groups of AHPs across the state to determine their work preferences and motivations. We found that working rurally was regarded as attractive for its broad scope of practice, and that AHPs liked rural lifestyles, but were troubled by their professional isolation and limited access to professional development. Motivations also differed depending on their career stage.

This research is being used to influence health policy, for example through providing expert testimony to the 2012 Senate inquiry on ‘The factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas’. Current UCRH Allied Health workforce research follows on from this work and aims to refine our understanding of how to recruit and retain rural AHPs, and to bring the findings to the attention of health managers and policy makers in order to improve access to important allied health services in rural areas.

Funding: NSW Institute of Rural Clinical Services & Teaching, $27,820 (2008-2013)

Staff involved: Dr Sheila Keane, Senior Lecturer Allied Health

Collaborators: University of Newcastle, University of Tasmania, Flinders University, Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH)

Drivers, barriers and facilitators of Allied Health students undertaking rural clinical placements in Australia: Results of an E-survey

International research shows conclusively that students undertaking rural clinical placements are more likely to pursue rural practice after graduation. This is important to address the chronic rural workforce shortages in the Allied Health professions.

This study surveyed 219 Allied Health students, 125 clinical supervisors and 13 university clinical placement officers to determine what might motivate students to elect to take up a rural placement, and to assess the benefits and feasibility of sustaining rural placements where there is a shortage of clinical supervisors.

Despite the challenges to supervision, students benefited from the broad exposure to different conditions typical of rural practice and gained personal confidence as well as enhanced clinical skills. Students who had undertaken a rural placement were 1.64 times more likely to intend to work in a rural or remote area than students who had not done so. Given the shortage of AHPs available for student supervision, additional work is needed to identify ways of making rural placements more available and sustainable.

Funding: NSW Health Education and Training Institute (HETI), $100,000 (2013)

Staff involved: Dr Sheila Keane, Senior Lecturer Allied Health

Collaborators: Southern Cross University, Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH)

Healthy Kyogle – a student service learning project

In 2009 Health Workforce Australia was funded by the Australian Government to address a national health workforce shortage, including training more students to enter the health professions. Research has shown that rural placements increase the likelihood that students will take up rural practice on graduation, but the increase in student numbers has put pressure on already limited availability of rural clinical training placements.

This research project explored the feasibility of establishing a new Occupational Therapy (OT) student service learning placement in a small rural community where no OT services currently existed.

Results identified key elements of establishing a new service learning placement, including broad consultation, clinical governance and communication systems. Universities and students were very satisfied with the educational benefits and during the course of their 10-week placement, under the supervision of an experienced OT, three students provided OT services to 411 clients, delivering 198 individual and 190 group occasions of service in schools and public health settings.

These students also developed resources and provided education to health staff and teachers. Placement feasibility was challenged only by the limits on student supervision, requiring innovations such as inter-professional supervision, remote supervision, and peer learning strategies.

Service-learning is potentially a mutually beneficial intersection of unmet service needs and learning goals. The UCRH is currently using results of this research to establish further service learning placements in a rural aged care setting.

Funding: NSW Interdisciplinary Clinical Training Network (ICTN), $79,469 (2012-2013)

Staff involved: Dr Sheila Keane, Senior Lecturer Allied Health

Collaborators: Southern Cross University, Northern NSW Local Health District

Allied Health Assistants: Supervision and Delegation – developing an online training resource

Vocational training programs were established in 2007 providing for Cert IV credentialing of Allied Health Assistants (AHAs), but Allied Health Professionals have not been adequately equipped with the skills needed to supervise this new workforce. This project was funded to develop and deliver the online course, “Allied Health Assistants: Supervision and Delegation”.

The course was utilised by a range of Allied Health clinicians, including a group of SA Health’s remote allied health practitioners as a foundation for a new Remote Allied Health Assistant initiative in that state in 2011. This pioneering work was the first to become publicly and freely available and has formed the basis for a number of subsequent training resources.

Funding: Australian Department of Health, Rural Health Continuing Education program $40,230 (2010)

Staff involved: Dr Sheila Keane, Senior Lecturer Allied Health

Collaborators: nil

Inter-professional Learning in a Rural Context

Because of the current workforce shortage, rural health professionals need to work together more closely to ensure patients are able to receive the care they need. Rural practice is inherently inter-professional in nature and students need to be acquire inter-professional capabilities, including understanding the roles of their own and other health disciplines, and developing important teamwork and communication skills.

This project funded the development of a freely available educational resource to assist educators to develop programs to train students in inter-professional competencies across the health professions. The resource is freely available on

Funding: NSW Health Education and Training Institute (HETI), $36,016 (2011)

Staff involved: Dr Sheila Keane, Senior Lecturer Allied Health; Dr Hudson Birden, Senior Lecturer Medical Education; Ms Lindy Swain, Pharmacy Academic

Collaborators: nil

Event: Innovators + Change Makers

An evening of wine + dinner. Aspiring Workshop. Inspiring Conversations. Networking with local women.

A Lismore Women’s Festival Event.

Thursday 9th March, 5.30pm – 8.00pm.

$10 donation.

RSVP by 6th March to

View flyer here

Full details can be found here

Monthly Social Connections Breakfast

Passionate about your community? Build your local networks.  Please join us at the UCRH every third Thursday morning of the month for a community services breakfast.

For dates and to register click here

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Education Day

Key presentations and workshops: •Medical overview, physiotherapy and exercise physiology interventions, COPD medications and devices, lived experiences of COPD, case studies and panel discussion. •Who should attend? Pharmacists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, nurses, medical practitioners and other clinicians involved in the care of people living with COPD. Student clinicians also welcome.

Your investment: •Qualified clinicians $55.00 (including GST) •Student clinicians $22.00 (including GST)

For event date and to register click here

The UCRH Evidence-Based Therapies Unit Training Program

UCRH CBT Training has been established since 2009 to provide top quality training in evidence-based psychological therapies for mental health practitioners from around Australia, in particular for those who work in rural and remote contexts. With the burgeoning reputation of our programs, registrants have come from every Australian state and territory, as well as from Asia and New Zealand.

The Evidence-based Therapies Training Unit’s primary focus is on contemporary CBT and Compassion-focused Therapy approaches. Informed by theory and research on therapist training undertaken by Associate Professor James Bennett-Levy, UCRH therapist training is skills-based, experiential and contemporary. We also offer a suite of online training programs to meet the needs of practitioners who cannot easily access face-to-face training.

See for current programs.

Click here for CBT training research and publications on which the training is based.

Buddhist Psychology. Compassion Focused Therapy, and ACT: The core elements

Workshop presenter – Dennis Tirch

How can the science of mindful compassion inform our approach as ACT (or CBT) practitioners? Can it enhance and expand our clinical work? How do Buddhist Psychology and the science of compassion converge to reveal a path of courage, kindness and empowerment?

Learning Objectives

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

Integrate compassion focused methods into ACT-consistent practice to create compassion focused case conceptualisations and enhance compassionate flexibility

  1. Integrate compassion focused methods into ACT-consistent practice to create compassion focused case conceptualisations and enhance compassionate flexibility
  2. Adapt a compassion focused approach to evidence based techniques such as exposure and response prevention, defusion, and behavioural activation
  3. Practice and teach compassion focused imagery methods and guided meditations drawn from CFT, Buddhist Psychology and ACT
  4. Develop and use the concept of the Compassionate Self Imagery practice in the treatment of anxiety and depression
  5. Help clients to better accept and effectively respond to anxiety and other difficult emotions through the activation of their evolved capacity for mindful compassion

Full details can be found here

Course details on the CBT website here

Mindful Self-Compassion Skills

Workshop presenters: James Bennett-Levy and Tina Gibson

MSC is an empirically validated program, which can be offered as a 5 day intensive or an 8 week/3 hr week program.

Cost: Early Bird – before 1st April – $820; Full price – $900.

Learning objectives

For participants to learn to:

  • Motivate themselves with encouragement rather than self-criticism
  • Relate to difficult emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance
  • Respond to feelings of failure or inadequacy with self-kindness
  • Begin to transform difficult relationships, old and new, through self-validation
  • Practice the art of savoring and self-appreciation
  • Integrate core mindfulness and self-compassion exercises into daily life
  • Be enabled to teach simple self-compassion practices to patients, students, or clients

Full details can be found here

Experiencing Compassion focused ACT

Workshop presenter: Dennis Tirch

Compassion. We all know it’s an important part of therapy relationship.  But recent advances in psychological research, theory and practice have suggested that compassion may be one of the most important processes in psychotherapeutic effectiveness.

How can we develop our own capacity to harness compassion in psychotherapy and daily life? Research increasingly shows that if therapists want to deepen their understanding of a therapy and develop a more nuanced set of skills as therapists, then experiencing that therapy ‘from the inside out’ is one of the best ways to do so.

Experiencing from the Inside Out also affords therapists the opportunity to make changes that may be of personal as well as professional benefit.

 In this first workshop in the 2017 Experiencing from the Inside Out series, Dr. Dennis Tirch will offer a 3 day self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR) workshop for therapists who want to supercharge their therapy through a direct experience of compassion-focused ACT. Personal practice forms the core of the workshop; rather than just learning how to use these techniques in therapy, participants will benefit from the personal practice of a blend of core compassion-focused therapy, mindfulness and ACT practices.

The workshop will have the quality of a retreat – a retreat where the centrepiece is communication, verbal and nonverbal, and self-reflection. This is a workshop for those who are already working as therapists, and have some familiarity with ACT principles and strategies – and a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time learning with one of the world’s leading practitioners in ACT and Compassion-focused Therapies.


This workshop provides a rare opportunity in a safe environment for therapists to experience ACT and Compassion-focused therapy approaches for themselves, in order to:

  1. Develop and use self-compassion and other directed compassion to facilitate personal growth and increasing effectiveness as therapists.
  2. Understand and practice a range of compassion focused imagery practices for themselves and their clients.
  3. Practice and develop mastery in self-practice/self-reflection methods that can lead to meaningful growth as a person and therapist.
  4. Internalize, teach and apply the fundamentals of an evolutionary model of compassionate flexibility that represents optimal human psychological functioning in action
  5. Integrate compassion focused methods into the practice of ACT, CBT and other psychotherapy modalities.
  6. Further develop and augment their mindfulness, acceptance and self-compassion imagery practice through advanced meditative and self-reflection techniques.
  7. View the psychotherapy process from the viewpoint of their clients with greater empathy, sensitivity and sympathy; having experienced their best practices “from the inside out.”

Full details can be found here

The Nyumbalihgu Simulation Centre

The centre is a purpose built centre designed and equipped to address the learning needs of the health and related workforce. Specialising in human factors and clinical skill development the centre has utilises medium and high fidelity mannequins, simulated patients and part task trainers to simulate real-life situations that healthcare professionals may encounter.

The two simulation rooms are equipped with video cameras to record the simulation training process, two-way audio and visual-streaming system, and high-fidelity manikins that mimic patients’ physiological responses to stress and illnesses to create a realistic clinical scenario. The integrated audio-visual system is streamed into key training areas and allows real-time playback capabilities. This provides the facilitators, trainees and observers with immediate feedback and effective reinforcement.

Courses currently offered at the facility include:

Adult - Advanced Life Support

This two-day ALS Program is suitable for health professionals in the provision of adult advanced life support in a clinical setting. Accredited by the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) and based on the latest 2010 Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines, the program includes a comprehensive Adult ALS manual, access to an E-learning quiz, plus a 2-day interactive workshop including assessment and certification.

Cost: ACCN members $350 (Inc GST).  Non-ACCN members: Registered Nurses $525, Paramedical Staff $525, Medical Officers $625, Reaccreditation $350 (All Inc GST)

for course dates and to register click here

Aged Care Simulation Workshop

Are you confident managing a resident who has become acutely unwell? If you would like to enhance your knowledge and skills then this is the course for you.

Topics include: Chest pain, Basic Life support, Foreign Body removal, Asthma, Head injury, Hypoglycaemia, and Clinical Handover.

Full details here

Anaphylaxis Management

Workshop Overview: Anaphylaxis is a life threatening condition affecting up to 2% of the population. Through immersive scenarios, auto-injector demonstrations, and case study discussions, participants learn how to recognize and manage anaphylaxis.

Target Audience: Health clinicians working in public hospitals, community settings or private practice.

Maximum Participants: Numbers are strictly limited to 12.

Cost: $80 Inc GST.  Light refreshments provided.

For course dates and to register click here

Aseptic Technique, Vascular Access and Lumbar Puncture

Three Techniques in this one day workshop:

Aseptic Technique: Participants will gain an understanding of the procedure and rationale behind the use of aseptic technique for the prevention of infection.

Vascular Access: Participants will have a better understanding of the principles and techniques surrounding peripheral, arterial or central venous access.  Also covering anatomy, physiology and device selection.

Lumbar Puncture: Designed to assist Medical Officers develop the knowledge and skills required to perform a lumbar puncture and provide high quality safe care to adult patients undergoing the procedure.

Cost: $60 inc GST for NNSWLHD employees.  $120 inc GST for non NNSWLHD

Morning tea and light lunch included

For course dates or to register click here

Cardiac Emergencies Simulation Workshop

Workshop Overview Nationally cardiac emergencies are a leading cause of death. As a health clinician it is important to be able to immediately recognise and manage life threatening cardiac emergencies. The cardiac emergencies workshop utilises a combination of didactic presentation, clinical skills and immersive scenarios to further develop the knowledge, technical skills and teamwork required to identify and manage a cardiac emergency. Topics include: Cardiac Arrhythmias, Fibrinolysis, External Pacing, Cardioversion and Defibrillation

Costs: $80 inc GST

For course dates or to register click here

ED FACEM Training

Course objectives: Assess/manage critically unwell patients with complex medical problems using the relevant Network Emergency Dept. Guidelines Assess/manage paediatric & adult patients with life threatening major trauma Lead a team resuscitation using the principles of crisis resource management

Participant numbers strictly limited to 1 FACEM, 1 Junior Medical Officer and 3 Registered Nurses.

For course dates or to register click here

Emergency Education & Training (EMET) Simulation Training

Course Objectives:

Assess/manage critically unwell paediatric patients with complex medical problems using the relevant Network Emergency Dept. Guidelines

Assess/manage paediatric & adult patients with life threatening major trauma

Lead a team resuscitation using the principles of crisis resource management

Cost: Free for employees of NNSWLHD Emergency Departments.

For course dates or to register click here

Emergency Eye Workshop

This workshop aims to develop emergency clinicians’ understanding of assessment and management of eye emergencies

Topics Covered Theory Session  Basic anatomy and physiology of the eye  Assessment of visual acuity  A systematic approach to eye examination  Assigning triage categories  History taking  Principles of eye emergency management Practical Session  Slit lamp skills  Assessing visual acuity  Irrigation  Padding eyes  Everting lid

For course dates or to register click here

Essential Airway Skills

The Essential Airway Skills simulation workshop is designed to provide practical and hands on experience in airway management. Included will be a presentation, clinical skills and immersive scenarios. Topics covered are:  “How to manage the emergency airway”  “Maintaining Airway Patency” Airway maneuvers, adjuncts & Laryngeal Mask Airways  “Bag Valve Mask” How to effectively ventilate a patient using a bag valve mask  “Advanced Airway Interventions” in the critically ill patient including RSI and Surgical Airway  “Case Studies” from the Emergency Department and the Pre-hospital environment

Cost: NNSWLHD Employees- $40 inc. GST- Partially funded by the Hospital Skills Program External- $85 inc. GST

For course dates or to register click here

Introduction to Simulation & Basics of Debriefing

Target audience: Health professionals that deliver education and are required to debrief participants.

Introduction to Simulation

Workshop Overview: This workshop is designed to provide participants with knowledge of the basics of simulation, provide an orientation to simulation labs, teamwork and develop, conduct and evaluate simulation scenarios.

Basics of Debriefing

Workshop Overview: The aim of this workshop is to develop the knowledge and skills required to conduct learner centred debriefing sessions. The benefits of learner centred debriefing are explored along with the various debriefing theories and techniques. Participants will also be given the opportunity to apply the various techniques by conducting supervised debriefs of actual scenarios.

Cost: $100 Inc GST. Morning tea and light lunch included.

For course dates or to register click here.

IV Cannulation

Workshop Overview:

* Review anatomy & physiology of veins/arteries * Client preparation & education * IV cannulation site selection * Special precautions & safety considerations * Cannula selections * Safe use of local anaesthetic & infection control issues * IV cannulation procedure * Complications related to the procedure &/or site * Competency assessment on a simulation ‘model’ arm

For course dates or to register click here

Medical Emergencies Response, Interventions and Treatment (MERIT)

Course Overview: This four hour workshop includes a presentation and simulation practice of four common medical emergencies, their recognition, interventions and treatment. Topics covered in the simulation workshop include: – Febrile Neutropenia – Anaphylaxis – Chest pain – Sepsis

Cost: $85 Inc GST, light refreshment included.

For course dates or to register click here

Medical Emergencies Response, Interventions and Treatment (MERIT) & Post-Operative Emergency Training (POET)

MERIT Course Overview:  This workshop includes a presentation andsimulation practice of four common medical emergencies, their recognition, interventions and treatment. Specific topics include:  Febrile Neutropenia  Anaphylaxis

POET Course overview:  Designed to enhance the knowledge and skills required to manage post-operative emergencies. The workshop features a combination of lectures and immersive simulation scenarios. The immersive scenarios provide the participant with the opportunity to practice their teamwork and communication skills while caring for a patient with a post-operative emergency. Specific topics include: Pulmonary Embolus, Hypovolaemic Shock, Post-operative Sepsis and Fluid Overload.

Cost: $120 Inc GST, Morning tea and light lunch included.

Maximum Participants: Maximum of 12 participants.

For course dates or to register click here

Mental Health

Details to be uploaded when the timetable is finalised.

Paediatric Advanced Life Support

Course Overview This two-day Paediatric ALS Program is suitable for health professionals in the provision of paediatric advanced life support in a clinical setting. Accredited by the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) and based on the latest 2010 Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines, the program includes a comprehensive Paediatric ALS manual, access to an e-learning quiz, plus a 2-day interactive workshop including assessment and certification.

Topics covered in the workshop include: Paediatric Anatomy & Physiology

BLS & ALS algorithms and principles Advanced airway management Electrical therapy Pharmacology Post resuscitation care Legal and ethical

Cost: ACCCN Members $350 (inc GST) Non‐ACCCN Members: Registered Nurses $525 (inc GST) Paramedical Staff $525 (inc GST) Medical Officers $625 (inc GST)

Fully catered – (morning tea/lunch)

For course dates or to register click here

Paediatric Emergencies

Course Overview: This four hour workshop provides participants with the opportunity to further develop the knowledge, and skills required to manage the acutely unwell child. Training Methods: A combination of lectures, skill stations and immersive scenarios and reflective debriefing will be used to cover common paediatric emergencies. Maximum of 12 participants.

Cost: $40 NNSWLHD employees, $80 non NNSWLHD employees.  Light refreshments provided.

To register of for further information For course dates or to register click here

Post-Operative Emergency Management (POET)

Course Overview:

This four hour workshop is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills required to manage post-operative emergencies. The workshop features a combination of lectures and immersive simulation scenarios. The immersive scenarios provide the participant with the opportunity to practice their teamwork and communication skills while caring for a patient with a post-operative emergency. Specific topics include:

Pulmonary Embolus, Hypovolaemic Shock, Post-operative Sepsis and Fluid Overload.

Cost: $80 Inc GST. Light refreshments included.

For course dates or to register click here

Retrieval Skills

Course Overview:

“Invasive lines, inotropes and vasopressors” – covering theory and practical of central lines, PICC lines, arterial lines, invasive BP and CVP monitoring, how to use inotropes, vasopressors, hot tips and pitfalls, latest considerations. “Procedural sedation and relevant nerve blocks pertaining to Retrieval Medicine” – covering guidelines for Procedural Sedation, femoral and wrist and ankle nerve blocks. “Cardiac considerations in Retrieval Medicine” – ECG recognition, STEMI management (lysis verses PCI and time considerations), Conscious cardioversion, External Pacing “Inter-hospital Transfers – What you need to know” – Stay and play vs Scoop and Run, Logistical considerations, Receiving and Referring Hospital considerations, Disclosure communication hot tips and pit falls.

Free for NNSWLHD employees.

For course dates or to register click here

Trauma Skills

Workshop Overview: The Trauma Skills workshops for 2016 are specifically targeted to JMO’s, CMO’s, Registrars and Registered Nurses wishing to gain further experience in the management of trauma. The workshop will include clinical skills, immersive simulation scenarios and reflective debriefing to emphasise the:  Best practice principles of trauma management  Human factor skills required to function effectively in a team  Principles of crisis resource management

Cost: $60 NNSWLHD Employees $120 Non NNSWLHD Employees

For course dates or to register click here




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