In 2013, Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) commissioned the Northern Regional Alliance of District Health Boards (the NRA) to manage a pilot of an innovative approach to training sonographers developed by The University of Auckland. This initiative occurred in the context of a significant ongoing shortage of sonographers in the public health sector nationally, but especially in the Auckland region.
The University of Auckland’s approach involved new trainees commencing the PG Diploma being trained on an accelerated 12-week programme in an academic environment for the early stages of their training, as opposed to the traditional workplace and block course model. Subsequent training to complete the PG Diploma would continue on the traditional basis.
The new programme had two principal aims:
- to make trainees more productive, sooner, as they return to the workplace
- to reduce the productivity burden of supervision in the workplace.
The evaluation concludes that participating employers from the public and private sectors in Auckland and Northland agreed that the pilot achieved the aims of the programme.
With the conclusion of HWNZ funding for the pilot, the programme will continue with the support of District Health Boards (DHBs) and private sonography providers.