Chair, practitioner and community board members of the 14 health profession boards in the National Scheme are appointed by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council.
A significant part of my role is as a touchstone for the Board in matters of professional practices and patient care. I was first appointed to the inaugural Board in July 2011 and reappointed for a second term in July 2013.
As one of the first, if not the first, graduate from China of traditional Chinese medicine to ‘hang her shingle’ as a qualified practitioner in 1989, I brought 25 years of full-time clinical practice in Australia to the Board table.
I also have extensive experience in cultivating the mutual respect of other registered health care professionals.
The Board needed to be up and running effectively fulfilling its role of protecting the public from inception. Development of the Board’s protocols and learning how to become an effective board member happened ‘on the job’. Guidance and mentoring from some experienced Board members was a great help.
There are inherent cultural barriers to be faced by the workforce of the Chinese medicine profession. This is one of the more important challenges facing the Board, therefore risk management is an intrinsic part of implementing the National Scheme.
Opportunities in life are opportunities to challenge oneself and to learn new skills.
It is an honour to be given the opportunity to grow and mature with AHPRA and fellow board members.
Being a National Board member, working with other like minded people for the common goals is a very enriching and rewarding experience. For me it also provides the opportunity to contribute with my professional expertise and to create a positive relationship with the public on behalf of my profession.
I am appointed as a community member.
I see my role as providing another viewpoint in the Board's decision-making. I am not the representative of any particular group. My responsibility is to ensure that in any decision-making there is input from a community perspective.
That said, the Board makes its decisions in a collegiate way, and takes account of a wide range of views and inputs.
The role of Chair of the CRG is an emerging and developing one for me. I have been impressed by the abilities, energy and generosity of the members.
The creation of the CRG and the opportunity to be involved offers the ability to secure the inclusion of community-focussed input to the work of the National Scheme. That is, bringing a community perspective to discussions across the whole scheme with AHPRA and National Boards, and not being limited to an individual Board or a regulated profession.
The learning curve of a community member is likely to be steep, the amount of reading (and therefore time) in preparation for Board meetings is considerable, and a member's involvement in regulatory affairs is profound.
Any person coming to the work for the first time needs to be sure they have plenty of time and the energy needed to be fully involved with their role.
A community member needs to be sure they prepare for meetings. The ability to come to grips with complex professional and regulatory issues is essential. So taking an active part in decision-making and continuing to learn about the field is helpful.
AHPRA and the Boards welcome community members and recognise the importance of their contributions.
It can be daunting, but the rewards of your involvement are substantial.