Date: December 2023
University: The University of Queensland
Field of Study: Bachelor of Exercise Physiology
Meet Isaac, a recent Exercise Physiology graduate who describes his SQRH 8-week placement in Chinchilla as a pivotal experience.
With his placement offering a student-led approach and being able to utilise the new SQRH Aged Care Education and Training Centre, Isaac said his time in Chinchilla shifted his focus from simply meeting study criteria to embracing holistic practice and encouraging self-development.
He believes this has made him a better practitioner.
Hi Isaac, so tell me, how did you end up doing a placement in Chinchilla?
There was a lot of talk about rural placements at Uni because there’s limited availability for placement in Brisbane.
Me and another student mate went and had a chat to SQRH about our options. We found out that with a rural placement in Chinchilla, we would have accommodation sorted as well as a bursary to cover some living expenses.
Then, when we found out that the placement was student-led as well – we jumped at the chance and put our name forward.
So, tell me about that student-led approach?
In Chinchilla, we had a supervisor, but we essentially ran the program, doing everything from taking objective measures like heart rate and blood pressure at the start of a session to taking notes and writing reports.
Then our supervisor would chat to us and provide feedback when needed.
Was that a unique approach?
Yeah. I’ve done placements in metro facilities, and you wouldn’t see that approach in Brisbane, especially at the start of placement. There's a lot more shadowing and watching how practitioners work.
I also found city placements will focus on say one aspect of exercise physiology, so for example exercise delivery; and then you shadow that.
In Chinchilla we didn’t do any shadowing, it was supervised hands-on within a broad scope of practice.
There was also a lot of crossover and collaboration with nursing staff and other practitioners in the allied health field.
So, it gave you a greater depth of experience.
Yes. I think when you’re out on a rural placement and you’re actually in it and practicing, you become less focused on ticking off the criteria to complete your degree and more focused on how you can develop holistically as a practitioner.
It's a great opportunity to develop your own skills, the way that you want to, for the real world with real presentations.
What were the facilities like in Chinchilla?
In terms of equipment, Chinchilla was obviously more limited than Brisbane. But I think that can be a benefit because it challenges you to put programs and prescriptions together with the resources that you have.
About 3 weeks into my placement at Illoura Village, the new student training building opened. It was a great space to work out of. It’s where we could go to talk to supervisors or other clinical educators. We could work in the meeting rooms, and we had a lot of training and workshops in the new lecture room.
Outside of work, how did you find living in Chinchilla?
It was great. My mate and I would go to the gym most days after work.
Then on Wednesdays and Thursdays, we would often go to musical bingo or trivia at the local RSL with some of our educators and other students.
On weekends it was nice to just chill. Sometimes we’d play a round of golf or go camping for a night in Miles, which wasn’t far away.
Would you recommend a rural placement to students thinking about it?
Yeah, I certainly would. It was a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and become very comfortable in a broad scope of practice.
And I know that I will be able to draw on the knowledge and skills that I developed in the future. Should I end up practicing in a rural area, if that’s where life takes me for whatever reason, I have had that experience.
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!