Date: June 2023
University: University of Queensland
Field of Study: Occupational Therapy & Speech Pathology
In the small town of Warwick, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Emmie and Molly to hear all about their rural placement experiences at BUSHKids, a not-for-profit organisation providing free allied health care to rural children and families.
Through their passion for their allied health studies, Emmie and Molly have not only left an impact on the community but have also discovered new opportunities for their futures.
Emmie, with her heart set on occupational therapy for adults, discovered the fun that can be had working with children and the significance community-focused education can have on prevention. Molly, driven by her love for speech pathology, also realised an enjoyment for paediatrics and the difference she could make in young people's lives.
Join us as we dive into the stories of Emmie and Molly, uncovering the challenges they faced and the invaluable lessons they learned during their time in Warwick.
How long are you here in Warwick on placement for?
Molly: “I’m here for eight weeks, and I’m currently in Week 3.”
Emmie: “10 weeks for me and I’m in Week 9.”
Have you done placements previously?
Emmie: “Yes I did a placement at Toowoomba Hospital at Baillie Henderson in the rehab clinic at the end of last semester.”
Molly: “I had my last placement at the Gold Coast University Hospital, it was an acute hospital placement in the ICU.”
Where are you from?
What made you want to do a placement in Warwick?
Molly: “I heard so many good things about it so I definitely wanted to experience rural.”
Emmie: “I have family here so I was happy to do another rural placement. I enjoyed the placement in Toowoomba so much, so I thought it would be good. I would prefer to go rural than in the city.”
How have you gone for accommodation during your placement?
Emmie: “I’ve been really lucky to stay with family.”
Molly: “I have been at the Warwick Hospital accommodation which has been really handy.”
What have been the benefits to doing a rural placement?
Emmie: “I think for me, you get a wider experience, and a wider case load than you typically would in the city. You have to be a bit more creative because you don’t have as many resources. It’s a nice environment.”
Molly: “I agree that it’s a really nice environment to be in. And also the community health aspect. There are a lot more trips, going out to kindergartens for example, and being part of the community.”
So what does a BUSHKids placement involve?
Molly: “For me, it’s a typical speech pathology case load. I might see a couple of kids through the day and we might look at speech, language, literacy or stuttering. And then sometimes we go to the kindies and do a reading group.”
Emmie: “Same sort of thing. We will have a few clients so looking mainly at fine motor skills, emotional regulation, self-care skills and then I do project work and report writing, and then we do some telehealth for some clients, and then kindy programs as well.”
What are some of your favourite memories from your placements?
Emmie: “I think getting to see the progress that the kids make during the short term service. It’s really rewarding when you see them from the start and then see how much progress they make and I see them become really confident. It’s definitely a highlight for me.”
Molly: “Similarly, seeing them improve a lot with stuttering and seeing their families come in so excited about their child’s progress.”
Outside of your placement, what have you been up to in Warwick?
Molly: “So far, I have gone to Leslie Dam and I hope to do some more adventures while I am here. The students I am staying with are so amazing and have offered to go along.”
Emmie: “I’ve been coming to Warwick throughout my childhood since I have family here. It’s nice to go to the dam and they have some really nice nurseries and gardens. We did an OT lunch with SQRH and the other OT students at Gardens Galore, it’s like a nursery café and that was really nice. The food was amazing and it was such a nice atmosphere.”
Molly: “There are also some really nice bush walks around I want to try.”
Are you thinking about going rural when you graduate?
Emmie: “I live in Toowoomba now so I would like to stay out there. I don’t want to move into the city. I hope to stay when I graduate. I did really enjoy my hospital placement in Toowoomba, that’s definitely something I would keep my mind open to. And I wasn’t sure about paediatrics, but I think after this placement, it’s something I might enjoy. So I’m just trying to keep my options open and see what comes up at the end of the year and what I think is the right fit.”
Molly: “I’m not sure yet. I always thought I wanted to work with adults. But now that I am here, working with kids out rural, I realised this is really fun too! So it has changed my mind a bit. I think heading rural would be a nice experience and this placement has helped me to see that.”
What would you say to students thinking of heading rural for their placements?
Emmie: “Definitely go for it. It is a bit scary I guess, some people might not want to be away from home. But I think it’s really good at developing independence. And developing skills to manage yourself and manage a full time workload which is a really good experience going into graduation. It’s such a nice community, everyone I have worked with has been so lovely and supportive. I would definitely recommend it, it’s been a great experience.”
Molly: “I think give it a go. It’s nice to see speech pathology in different contexts. It’s good to see the community aspect, the parent training and education to the community, compared to the one-on-one you would have with kids in Brisbane. And also that personal growth, meeting new people in the accommodation, going out on your own independent adventures, that’s a good experience.”
Did you have any concerns coming out on rural placement?
Emmie: “I think some of it was the funding, being away from home, not being able to work, that was the main concern but there’s definitely lots of support that I have found for rural placements. Applying for grants can really assist with that side of things. It definitely took a lot of the pressure off that placement brings.”
Molly: “I think for me, I’m the only speechie out here in Warwick so I was a bit worried about being on my own. But everyone in the accommodation has been so supportive and even here on my placement.”
Through their journeys, Emmie and Molly have exemplified the rewards of embracing new challenges and seizing opportunities, leaving their mark on the community and paving the way for their future careers in allied health. As they conclude their rural placement journeys in Warwick, we wholeheartedly wish them continued success and fulfillment in their future endeavours, confident that they will continue to make a positive difference.
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!