Establishing communities of practice

Objective 8.3:

Skill up our workforce

Action 8.3.2:

Revive communities of practice for front-line alcohol and other drug treatment services’ workers

The Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (QNADA) devised supervisor and practitioner communities of practice (CoP) to facilitate learning, sharing of practice wisdom, tools and resources, and coordinated responses to solve issues identified by the AOD sector. Supported by PHN funding to enhance the skills of the alcohol and other drugs workforce, these CoPs also aim to support transitions of care and create smooth referral pathways between AOD service providers along with providing a shared understanding of service processes.

These bi-monthly meetings afford attendees the opportunity for a feedback loop into QNADA projects and resource development, and a space to share current developments in the sector. Between meetings, engagement occurs for consultation, information sharing and follow-up on shared tasks, such as feedback on resources in development.  To date, participants have been drawn from over a dozen different AOD service providers in the region.

Key achievements

The development of several core resources for the sector was the culmination of consultation with the CoPs. In addition to significant input and feedback into the development of a Supervisor/Supervisee training package to enhance capacity within the sector to provide appropriate support to workers, the publication of an AOD treatment factsheet targeted at non-AOD services is noteworthy.

This factsheet aims to support better communication and referral pathways across the AOD and affiliated sectors (e.g. housing and homelessness, mental health), and provides information that addresses misconceptions about alcohol and other drug use and treatment. It offers insights into patterns of drug use, responding to client needs, destigmatising language and what to prepare for when referring a client into an AOD treatment service. Distribution was via digital and hard copy format through AOD and non-AOD services in the Brisbane North region.

Key learnings

Feedback from evaluation of the CoPs indicate that they are considered useful and purposeful as forums for sharing information, developing practice, connecting with other services and consolidating networks.

Offering the space for practitioners and supervisors to meet separately, and being able to feed that information through to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Partnership Group, ensures a greater connectivity between treatment providers, with subsequent enhancement of communication more broadly in the sector.

What’s next?

The CoPs will be involved in developing a model to support inter-service shadowing, collating induction processes across AOD services (including an exploration of minimum competencies) and developing consensus on key competencies to be assessed during induction. CoPs will be called on to support the review, follow up and evaluation of training activities to ascertain whether the training resulted in new skills being acquired and implemented.

Get involved

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