Expanded Scopes of Practice Program

Evaluation of the HWA Expanded Scopes of Practice Program


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Background to the evaluation

The HWA-ESOP program is part of a work plan implementing the National Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework for Action 2011-2015. It was instigated to address known areas of workforce shortage in the Australian health system by expanding the scopes of practice of nurses and allied health professionals.  Innovative models of care delivery have been developed by State and Territory health authorities. These models have the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce waiting times and ease pressure in areas of high demand, such as Emergency Departments (EDs), by equipping health professionals with skills and experience to extend their existing roles. In total, 26 organisations have received funding under the HWA-ESOP program to implement and evaluate models of expanded scope of practice. They constitute four sub-projects: Advanced Practice in Endoscopy Nursing; Physiotherapists in the Emergency Department; Nurses in the Emergency Department; and Extending the Role of Paramedics.

What we did

As national evaluator of the program, the role of the Centre for Health Service Development (CHSD) was to assist sites with planning and carrying out their evaluation activities; to monitor evaluation outcomes; and to collect, organise and synthesise evaluation data from the program as a whole, to inform future policy and practice. CHSD systematically evaluated these models and assessed whether they were suitable for wider (national) roll-out and the conditions under which they were most likely to succeed. 


A set of Key Performance Indicators was collected for each sub-project in addition to a range of evaluation information to address national evaluation requirements. In combination this data and information ensured the evaluation reported on the key domains of inquiry for HWA: workforce capacity; effectiveness including the impact and experience for consumers and service providers as well as safety and quality outcomes; economic measures including cost and efficiency; workforce productivity; sustainability and the generalisability or scalability of the implemented models.

The Evaluation Framework was developed in consultation with sub-project Clinical Advisors, Project Advisory Groups and implementation sites. The evaluation framework was designed to measure impact from the perspective of consumers, providers and the system by investigating six broad evaluation questions:

  • Program/project delivery: What did you do?
  • Program/project impact: How did it go?
  • Sustainability: Can you keep it going?
  • Capacity building: What has been learnt?
  • Generalisability: Are your lessons useful for someone else?
  • Dissemination: Who did you tell?


To support the collection of data to inform the evaluation, a Compendium of Data Requirements and Evaluation Tools was developed which detailed the data required and specified how this information was collected and recorded.


More information is available from Health Workforce Australia's (archived) Expanded Scopes of Practice Program Website


Project team: Cristina Thompson, Kate Williams, Darcy Morris, Luise Lago, Karen Quinsey, Conrad Kobel, Patrea Andersen, Simon Eckermann, Rob Gordon, Malcolm Masso

Last reviewed: 3 August, 2018

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