Breenna's Story

Date: March 2024
Location: Kingaroy Hospital
University: The University of Queensland
Field of Study: Social Work

What did you enjoy most about your rural placement?

I really appreciated my time as part of the tight-knit social work team in the small rural hospital in Kingaroy, which provided me with ample hands-on experience.

I managed my own caseload, comprising 1-2 outpatients and 1-2 inpatients, allowing me to delve into the realm of social work for older individuals and explore various intervention methods.

My supervisor's encouragement to step beyond my comfort zone helped me refine my patient interaction style.

Immersing myself in the close-knit community of the small town was a highlight, from attending church services to participating in local markets, festivals, and events. Exploring the picturesque Bunya Mountains was a memorable experience. These connections forged during my placement have persisted and enriched my career journey.

Would you recommend a rural placement to other students? Why?

I strongly advocate for rural placements for students seeking diverse experiences in social work.

Under the guidance of my supervisor, I began interacting with patients within the initial weeks of my placement, an opportunity unlikely to occur in a metropolitan hospital.

Moreover, I gained valuable experience in both outpatient and inpatient settings at Kingaroy Hospital. This placement ultimately led to employment with Darling Downs Health after graduation and a permanent position with South West Hospital and Health Service.

What are your top tips for students considering a rural placement?

1. Embrace the Experience: Approach the rural placement with an open mind and a positive attitude. Embrace the opportunity to learn about healthcare in a different setting.

2. Be Flexible: Rural placements often require flexibility due to limited resources and diverse patient populations. Be prepared to adapt to new situations and roles.

3. Engage with the Community: Take the time to connect with the local community and learn about their needs and culture. Building relationships with patients and community members can enhance your experience and understanding.

4. Take Initiative: Don't wait for opportunities to come to you—take initiative to get involved in different aspects of healthcare delivery, whether it's assisting with community outreach programs or participating in clinical research projects.

5. Learn from Everyone: In a rural setting, you may interact with a variety of healthcare professionals, from physicians to nurses to community health workers. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from everyone on the healthcare team.

6. Be Prepared: Rural placements may come with unique challenges, such as limited access to certain medical technologies or services. Be prepared to adapt and problem-solve in resource-limited environments.

7. Take Care of Yourself: Rural placements can be physically and emotionally demanding, especially if you're far from home or accustomed to urban settings. Make sure to prioritise self-care and seek support when needed.

8. Reflect on Your Experience: Take time to reflect on what you've learned during your rural placement and how it has impacted your perspective on healthcare delivery. This can help you grow personally and professionally.

Did you stay in SQRH accommodation or have interaction with SQRH staff?

During my placement, I lived in SQRH accommodation for the duration of my placement. It was a lovely place to live and I felt very comfortable living there. I have regular contact with the SQRH staff that were friendly and polite. They were always quick to help, like when we ran out of gas at the house.

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From Toowoomba to Charleville, Kingaroy to Goondiwindi, our students’ complete rural placements all over regional, rural, and remote Southern Queensland (across more than 400,000 square kilometres).

Learn first-hand from students, just like yourself, about their experience going on a rural placement, and why it’s an experience like no other!


Get In Touch

If you want to share your rural placement experience with us, please email sqrh@uq.edu.au.

We would love to hear all about it!