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Sink or swim? the perceptions of return to work coordinators
  1. J Bohatko-naismith,
  2. D Rivett,
  3. C James
  1. M Guest School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia


    Background Returns to Work Coordinator's (RTW) were introduced to the Australian workplace two decades ago and they are now critical in the facilitation of workplace RTW. Training for the role was developed and is considered mandatory in some states. There is no Australian research available to determine if the current training provided is meeting the needs of RTW Coordinators.

    Purpose The study aimed to understand the perceptions and experiences of RTW Coordinators with respect to their current training and to ascertain whether it is meeting their requirements.

    Methods Focus groups were conducted with RTW Coordinators in five capital cities in Australia. RTW Coordinators with a minimum of two years' experience and who were involved in the development and implementation of relevant policies and procedures were recruited. Focus group discussions were recorded, transcribed and coded using a phenomenological approach.

    Results Three key themes relating to the current training available for RTW Coordinators were identified. These were: professional development, specialised trainers and practical content.

    Contribution to the Field RTW Coordinators are pivotal in the RTW process and it is crucial that training they receive provides the necessary skills to perform this role. This study identified the importance of ongoing professional development as a method of supporting RTW Coordinators in the workplace, and providing specialised trainers with a practical approach. The findings will begin to build a body of knowledge in the Australian context and may inform appropriate educational and training standards.

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