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Congratulations, new allied health graduates! As you embark on your professional journey, your first year of work can be both exciting and challenging. After years of study and dedication, it’s time to put your knowledge and skills to practice in the real world.

Jasmine Hulls, owner of Physio Group South West, has employed 21 new fresh graduates to her clinics throughout the South West since 2016.

We spoke to Jasmine to hear her insights into what new grads can expect in their first year of practice.


Orientation and Training: Most employers will provide a thorough orientation and training program to familiarize you with the organisation’s policies, procedures, and expectations. This period will also offer opportunities to shadow experienced colleagues and gain hands-on experience in different aspects of your role.

If Rural Health West has helped you to find your first role, we will ensure you are being placed with employers who have excellent programs and supervisors to help you find your feet in your new role!

Jasmine believes it is important that you have good support in your first role.

“I recommend that new grads look for an employer who has a structured induction program, and preferably an established graduate program.

“Ask your employer how many clients you will initially be seeing, and whether you can build your caseload gradually.

“You might like to have longer consult times in your first few weeks as you transition from student to clinician. Longer consult times will give you more time to get to know your clients, more time to seek advice from others in the practice, and more time to prepare between clients.”


Learning Curve: Expect a steep learning curve during your first year. You’ll encounter a wide range of cases and patient populations, which will test and expand your clinical knowledge. Don’t be discouraged by mistakes; they are part of the learning process.

Jasmine said it is likely you will learn more in your first few years of practice than you did during your degree.

“We often see the confidence levels of our grads plummet when they realise how much they still have to learn.

“This is particularly the case where they have clients who need more support or more advanced therapy than they can provide.

“It’s important not to become discouraged and instead focus on the ways you are helping them.

“Channel your uncertainty into being passionate about learning and improving, and remember that every seasoned clinician once stood in your shoes!”


Teamwork and Collaboration: Allied health professionals often work in interdisciplinary teams. Collaborating with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals will be a key part of your job. Learning effective communication and teamwork skills will be invaluable.

Jasmine encourages new grads to seek out employers and supervisors who will mentor you in the some of the non-clinical aspects of the role.

“Ask your colleagues if they are happy to share examples of GP referrals and reports, or if they would be willing to review your own.

“Don’t be concerned about asking for help and feedback, as this is the quickest way for you to learn and to consolidate your new skills.”


Time Management: Balancing multiple responsibilities and meeting tight deadlines can be challenging. Time management is crucial to stay organised and ensure you deliver high-quality care to your patients.

Jasmine has a host of tips to help new grads to improve their time management.

  • look at your week ahead, so that you know what to expect and can plan
  • make to do list and block out time to allocate to getting these tasks ticked off
  • arrive at work with plenty of time to get settled in and prepare for the day ahead. Starting your day organised and calm really helps set the tone for the rest of your day
  • take a few minutes at the end of your day to look ahead at tomorrow, so you are ready and prepared. Again, this can mean the different between a rushed, stressful day and a calm, prepared one.


Continuing Education: The learning doesn’t stop after graduation. Many allied health professions require ongoing professional development to stay current with the latest research, technology, and best practices. Stay open to new learning opportunities.

Jasmine recommends that grads accept a role with a structured mentoring plan, but advises you will also need to put time and effort into your own learning.

“It can be difficult transition from a student who has their curriculum planned for them, to being a qualified clinician, responsible for identifying their skill gaps and determining their own professional development requirements.

“Your PD is also an opportunity to explore your professional interests or areas you’re passionate about, which is part of the beauty of working in private practice. You can shape your future career.”

Rural Health West provides a range of ongoing professional development activities for health professionals, including our annual Rural Health Conference and Aboriginal Health Conference. You can find out what’s coming up on the Rural Health West events page.

We also provide grants and scholarships through the Health Workforce Scholarship Program to help you cover registration, travel and accommodation costs incurred while completing your professional development. We typically hold two applications rounds per year in March and September.


Feedback and Growth: Seek feedback from your supervisors and peers regularly. Constructive criticism will help you identify areas for improvement and promote your professional growth.

“It can be heard to hear constructive feedback, however it part of becoming a well-rounded clinician,” said Jasmine.

“But also celebrate your wins! You may initially receive lots of constructive feedback, but it’s important to acknowledge all of the wonderful ways you are supporting your clients.”

Part of growing as a clinician is also about being flexible. Be prepared for unexpected situations and changes in your work environment. Adaptability is a valuable skill in healthcare, as circumstances can shift rapidly.


Networking: Building a professional network within your organisation and the broader allied health community can open doors to new opportunities and provide support throughout your career.

Jasmine recommends attending networking events, attending seminars and other professional development events, as these are great places to build your network.

Each rural region in WA has its own health professionals network, which provides a range of education and social activities for local health professionals. Speak with Rural Health West or visit the website to find out how to join your local network.


Work-Life Balance: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for your well-being and career longevity. Remember to make time for activities outside of work that bring you joy and relaxation.

“The first year of your career can be quite taxing as you are learning and growing quickly.

“You can expect to do a lot of reflection about your treatment of clients, and possibly reconsider how you might have managed your first patients, compared to how you would manage them towards the end of your first year. This might mean some sleepless nights.

“However, it is vital that you prioritise your sleep, nutrition and exercise to keep you at your physical and mental best,” said Jasmine.

Most new grads find their own rhythm as their confidence grows, however if you are having trouble winding down at the end of your day or maintaining a good work-life balance, seek someone to talk to or check if your employer has an employee assistance program or can recommend help.


Advocacy for Patients: As an allied health professional, you’ll be an advocate for your patients’ well-being. Ensure their voices are heard and their needs are met as you work in their best interest.

Speak with your mentors about their experiences and advice, as their insights and expertise will be invaluable.


Emotions and Empathy: Working in healthcare can be emotionally demanding. You’ll encounter patients and families facing difficult situations. Cultivate empathy and self-care strategies to manage stress and prevent burnout.

“As healthcare professionals, we care deeply for our clients and often want to fix everything for them,” said Jasmine.

“It can be difficult to leave these things at work. This is a discipline that takes time to develop.

“Speak with your mentors or colleagues about the techniques they use to leave work at work, and how you can be supported to achieve this.


Celebrate Milestones: Celebrate your achievements and milestones, no matter how small they may seem. Completing your first year as an allied health professional is a significant accomplishment and deserves recognition.

“It is an honour to work as a health professional and you will do an amazing job helping people,” said Jasmine.

“Even if your help may seem minor to you, your clients will remember how you have helped them.

“Be proud of the contribution you are making to people’s lives.”


Remember, your first year is a time of growth and learning. Embrace the challenges, seek support when needed, and celebrate your successes. You are embarking on a rewarding and fulfilling career that will make a positive impact on the lives of many. Welcome to the world of allied health!

Acknowledgement of Country