Date: December 2023
University: The University of Queensland
Field of Study: Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Midwifery
Meet Isabelle. She’s studying a dual degree in Nursing and Midwifery, and has done placements in rural, regional, and metro hospitals.
Currently, she's immersed in a 4-week SQRH placement in Warwick.
Isabelle has found her regional and rural placements through SQRH provide her with more diverse and valuable learning experiences.
So, Isabelle, you’re a little tired today?
Yes, a bit. I had just finished my regular shift yesterday, when a woman came in to have her baby. So, I stayed for the delivery. It was so great... it was my first birth in Warwick.
That’s exciting. So, how many health professionals were in the birthing suite with you?
It was just me and another midwife last night. It was baby number 8 for this family, so Mum knew what she was doing.
Is that one of the things you like most about rural placement, having an experience like that?
Yes. In the bigger tertiary hospitals, there are a lot of students on placement, and you don't really talk to the doctors or other specialists because communication might only be through your buddy midwife. Also, you’re usually placed in a particular area or specialisation, so your experience is focused.
On a rural placement, you play bigger role within a multidisciplinary team. There’s a lot of communication and collaboration, and your experience is broad. As the only student midwife on placement now, if there's a birth, the team know to call me, and I'll get up out of bed and go straight to the hospital.
You would never have that opportunity Brisbane.
Is this also the case from a clinical perspective?
Yes. A rural placement is a great opportunity to become really good at a broad range of clinical skills, rather than just knowing how to do something. In a large hospital, if you need a cannula put in, or bloods taken, you can just call someone.
Here in Warwick, that's something you get to do yourself.
How have you found the hospital’s facilities in Warwick?
It seems almost unfair to compare the big city hospitals to rural ones. And Warwick is a rural hospital.
But I can honestly say that the model of care used here makes up for any lack of resources.
There’s more time to get to know your patients and really care for them. Here, the midwives will manage an entire pregnancy; all the antenatal appointments, through to the birth and then provide the post-natal care, that continuation makes everything very comfortable for the women, and I think that’s really special.
That concept of communication and continuation of care seems to be important to you.
Yeah, it is. The favourite part of this placement has been seeing how the staff interact with the women. Because in a small town, everyone knows everyone. So even last night, the midwife that delivered the baby, also delivered the woman’s second baby 13 years ago.
It's beautiful and it makes me excited to get out there.
So, you could see yourself going rural permanently?
Yes. I’ve really enjoyed this placement and enjoyed living here.
My accommodation has been great because there are a lot of students here, from graduates, medical and allied health students. So, it’s nice to be able to hang out or grab a coffee after shifts and talk about our day.
And everyone who lives here is just so friendly. Always just up for a chat and keen to meet someone new. I’ve loved being part of the community.
Would you recommend an SQRH placement?
One hundred percent. I really think everyone should try a rural placement. Because even though it will be out of some student’s comfort zone, it’s so beneficial, you get so much more out of it as a student for so many reasons.
What is up next for you Isabelle?
Next year I have a placement in Toowoomba and then later in the year hopefully in Roma, which is something I’m really excited about. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do placements in these areas. It's such a nice profession and I think that's amplified in a smaller community.
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!