16 March 2016.
Over 30 new allied health students have been recently welcomed by the WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) and the Rural Clinical School, for rural placements in Geraldton and Midwest.
WACRH’s Clinical Education Manager Kathryn Fitzgerald said rural student placements are essential to allow students to experience the unique aspects of rural practice and life, and to encourage them to return to the country to work.
“We provide students with a unique rural experience that includes working interprofessionally – working with and learning about other health professionals. To provide truly patient centred care, health professionals need to work together and this is a key feature of our program. We are also pleased to welcome the medical students from the Rural Clinical School who are now located with us in the same building, enabling increased opportunities for students to work together”.
The students on placement come from various health science fields including medicine, pharmacy, speech pathology, physiotherapy and social work, and can be placed in health and community based services in Geraldton and Mt Magnet.
“Not only do students gain a unique and rich focus on a range of rural clinical experiences but they also develop an understanding of working with rural and remote communities. Learning about their profession while connecting with rural communities is an important part of being ready to be a rural health professional”.
Students have access to a locally developed cultural awareness programs ‘Understanding Yamaji in Health Practice’ and have the opportunity to put their learning into practice over the period of their placement.
Linda Arabi, a fourth year speech pathology student from Edith Cowan University, was at first apprehensive about taking up a 16 week placement in the Midwest but would now definitely recommend it to other students.
“It has taught me to be independent and I have made new friends that will last long after this placement has finished”.
“Our supervisors are extremely supportive. They prompt us to find our own solutions, treating us like colleagues and not students. Our daily caseloads are varied and feel like the real world,” she said.
Linda has also liked working with and learnt about other health professions and she feels like she is making a difference and contributing to the community.
Stacey O’Brien, postgraduate dietetics student from Curtin University, liked that the WACRH accommodation was modern and clean.
“It was a great retreat to come back to after a busy day. Working at WACRH was great everyone was really friendly and approachable. I really enjoyed my time in Geraldton,” she said.
In 2015, WACRH hosted over 700 weeks of allied health and nursing students in the Geraldton and the Midwest Region.
Students participating in WACRH placement programs have access to quality shared accommodation either centrally located in Geraldton or in the recently built six bedroom house in Mt Magnet.
(Picture Caption: Speech Pathology students from Perth presenting at a Dysphagia Expo at Juniper Hillcrest Aged Care Facility in Geraldton.)