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4WD driving down dirt road in the Pilbara Western Australia

Careers in health are made in the bush

31/05/2022 |

Are you looking to challenge yourself and develop your healthcare practice in a complex and diverse real-world training environment?

Rural health placements offer an incomparable practical experience while you complete your health and medical sciences study. Better still, you’ll be putting your new skills to the test in communities that desperately need your expertise. As a rural primary health care professional, you'll have to think on their feet and utilise a wide range of technical skills to serve the complex health and wellness needs, giving you a once in a lifetime opportunity that can set you up for professional success, either in a rural or regional setting or back in the city.

The clinical and practical skills and knowledge of the people who had completed [rural placement] were leaps and bounds ahead of the ones who hadn't. FEEDBACK FROM A PREVIOUS RURAL PLACEMENT STUDENT, NOW WORKING AS A GP REGISTRAR

You may find that you love your placement experience and the communities you get to live and work in that you want to return for a regional or rural based career; as UWA researchers found when they discovered that students who complete a rural placement are four times more likely to go on to careers in regional areas, relocating because of the incredibly fulfilling work that is on offer. What’s more, living and working in rural locations gives you the opportunity to truly become part of the community where you are based and you’ll really get to know the people and feel a deep sense of appreciation from those you serve.

But don’t simply take our word for it – here are some thoughts from students who have completed rural placements:

UWA’s Geraldton-based Master of Social Work Lecturer Lindi Pelkowitz understands the serious need for more health students and professionals to do their part to support regional community health:

There is a shortage of medical and allied health professionals in rural and regional WA. We need to support our local community and build the rural health work force. LINDI (UWA SOCIAL WORK LECTURER), GERALDTON

Master of Social Work student Alice Neil-Smith found her rural placement deeply rewarding, both personally and professionally:

I learned a lot about myself and what it means to be a social worker because of my rural placement. After the placement experience, I could definitely see myself working in a regional setting. ALICE (UWA MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK), GERALDTON

Similarly, Master of Pharmacy student Sheldon Dias found that his rural placement in Karratha was challenging, but career-making:

The reason I took a rural placement was to broaden the spectrum of my practice, [with the goal of having the skills to] work anywhere, at any time, and I really feel that rural placement has helped me achieve that. [My placement was exciting because] you can never expect a typical day in a rural pharmacy, it doesn't happen. SHELDON (UWA MASTER OF PHARMACY), KARRATHA

For Doctor of Podiatric Medicine student Jasmine Law, the benefits of a rural placement are far reaching, particularly the opportunity to work and collaborate inter-professionally, as part of an allied health team:

A rural placement exposes you] to a wider range of patients that you don't see in metro areas, which gives you a lot more experience than you'd get down in Perth. I've [also] had the experience of working inter-professionally with other allied health professionals. JASMINE LAW (UWA MASTER OF PODIATRIC MEDICINE), GERALDTON

To find out more about how you can make one of the most rewarding future-career moves, change the quality of life for so many rural and regional Australians, and hone your professional skills in a setting like no other, check out the WA Centre for Rural Health.

Would you like to play a role in shaping the future of rural and regional health care?  Check out the rural placement opportunities offered by the UWA School of Allied Health and Medical School:
·       Doctor of Optometry
·       Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
·       Master of Social Work
·       Master of Pharmacy 
·       Doctor of Medicine


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