The NRRSS Mentor Program supported rural and remote allied health professionals across Australia. It is a key element of the support provided by the National Rural and Remote Support Service (NRRSS) which is administered by Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH). The NRRSS Mentor Program was adapted from the myAlly program commissioned by the Victorian Department of Health.
The program was designed to provide professional development opportunities for both mentors and mentees. Best practice in mentoring includes the need to:
- Strengthen the use of emerging technologies
- Reduce the burden of travel for rural allied health practitioners
- Highlight the professional development benefits of acting as a mentor or mentee
- Offer flexible ‘on demand’ resources and tools
- Support participants to enhance the sustainability of mentoring partnerships
- Share practical resources that can assist rural early childhood intervention and other allied health therapists as they provide services in rural and remote areas of Australia
A video documenting the benefits of mentoring has been created by the FBG Group for their version of the NRRSS mentoring program called MyAlly. It was developed for the Victorian Department of Health and illustrates the importance of mentoring in professional development.
The aim of the NRRSS Mentor program was to provide a mentoring structure for:
- AHPs planning to extend intervention services to rural areas by registering with the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) Early Intervention Provider Panel; and
- ECI specialists registered as Panel providers with the DSS in metropolitan, regional and remote centres. Registered therapists provide services to children with a disability and their families who can access funding under the Better Start for Children with Disability Initiative (BSI) and the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package.
Participants are welcome to remain actively engaged with the P2P Mentoring program for as long as they experience the benefit of maintaining their mentor partnership.
The NRRSS encouraged the extension of ECI services to children with disability and their families in rural areas. Private practitioners are encouraged to register as Early Intervention Panel Provider members with the Better Start Initiative or the HCWA Program.