Date: December 2023
University: University of Southern Queensland
Field of Study: Bachelor of Nursing
Meet Fiona. After a chance placement through SQRH at Charleville Hospital, this nursing student loved it so much, she took a second placement there.
Now Fiona lives and works in Charleville permanently.
So where are you from originally Fiona?
I’m from the Sunshine Coast.
And how did you find yourself on placement in Charleville?
I have had an interest in rural and remote practice since beginning my nursing journey.
The opportunity arose because UniSQ and SQRH offer rural and remote placement as well as elective placement, if you would like to transition to rural and remote practice.
My first placement in Charleville was from December 2021 to Jan 2022, which was a second- year placement.
Then, my second placement was a third-year placement from November 2022 to February 2023.
And then you moved there permanently?
Yes. I’ve had a permanent position at Charleville Hospital since February this year.
So, your experience during those placements had quite an impact on you. Can you tell me about that?
I just really liked being there. You get the opportunity to practice a lot of different skills on a rural placement. And the staff have the time to show you how to do things. I’ve spoken to a lot of my friends who have done placements in metropolitan hospitals, and they don’t seem to get that breadth of practical experience.
It’s also amazing how everyone works together. During my placements we had SQRH trainee sessions that introduced us to the doctors and the different allied heath staff working in the hospital and the community. So, you get to know everyone and understand their particular disciplines and how we all work together.
What did you think of the hospital facilities when you first arrived in Charleville?
It was actually bigger than I expected because it services a lot of areas in Western Queensland. We have an emergency and maternity ward and surgery. There is also a large contingent of allied health services available here.
Did you stay in SQRH accommodation during your placements?
Yes. And it was beautiful. It was in such a great location, close to the hospital and town centre.
And what was it like living with other students while on placement?
It was so good. I was lucky because I first went out to Charleville with a couple of my friends. But since then, I’ve met so many people that are really good friends now.
Because Charleville is home now?
Yes. I have an awesome friendship group and my partner is here also working for Queensland Health.
It’s such a great community. There’s always something social happening here too, like the races, or other community events. I love the fact that we’re always busy going to barbeques and socialising.
From a professional perspective what do you like about working there?
I like the collaborative approach to care. And I feel like there is more opportunity to upskill working rural.
It wasn’t something I had planned on doing, but early on, I had the opportunity specialise in cancer care. There was a lot of support from the hospital and now I am in cancer care assisting with treatment locally.
What would you say to other students who might be thinking of doing a rural placement?
If you’re on the fence about it. Don’t be.
You never know what is going to come through the door at any moment, so you need the skills required for anything, and to be able to think outside the box.
The nursing and medical team engage with students and take the time to teach and make you feel a part of the team.
The experience is so worth it.
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!