Date: July 2023
University: University of Queensland
Field of Study: Dietetics
I would recommend going on rural placement to anyone. If I’m honest, although I initially put my hand up to do a rural placement during my Masters of Dietetics studies, when the time came for me to go, I had some personal circumstances going on at the time which meant the easier option would be to stay in Brisbane. However, to my disappointment at the time (but luck in hindsight), there were no spots left in Brisbane.
As a result, I spent some of the best five weeks living in the Nurses Quarters at the Toowoomba Base Hospital and I loved every moment. I committed to making sure I made the most of my time in Toowoomba and on reflection, I’m proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone while living away from home. My first tip I have for living in a new place would be to make your bedroom as comfortable as you possibly can. I brought my bed sheets from home and lots of things to make it feel like home and that helped a lot. Everything is so new and different, so it is nice to have a safe place, filled with the things you love, to return to at the end of the day.
My mornings started…
with a drive into town to discover who was brewing the best cup of coffee before returning back to the shared kitchen to quickly have some breakfast and chat to whoever was around. Everyone was so friendly and of all different ages, careers, and backgrounds.
My day involved…
learning from and working alongside my supervisor seeing a wide variety of patients with different clinical presentations on the medical wards. I enjoyed working with the multidisciplinary team within the hospital to treat patients and seeing how smaller hospitals were run. My mentors and supervisors that I worked under were so welcoming and knowledgeable. My advice would be to ask as many questions as you can and try as many new things as possible, even if you’re nervous. I tried to do this early on and it meant that I was very confident by the end and was able to see patients on my own and then report back to my supervisor.
My days ended…
with a sunset walk around Queens Park or an exercise class before returning to my accommodation to make some dinner and again, chat to whoever was around. I ended up making some good friends who were also on placement from another university, and we did lots of activities together outside of our placement such as bakery and coffee trips, walks, trivia, hikes and picnics.
I also did my best to get involved in the local community…
while I was on placement and I found a local run club started by Georgie Valdal, which is now called VFIT and has expanded to include a boutique Pilates studio. I went to this every Wednesday morning, and it was a great way to meet new people and I made some awesome friends there. Another run club that I loved was called Neeps that ran on Sunday mornings. I found this really helped me to find my own community while away from home and significantly improved my experience. So my tip would be to find local community groups for whatever you’re interested in! There are so many.
My experience in Toowoomba…
without a doubt, played a huge role in helping my make next step in my career. I am now studying Medicine in Wollongong and I don’t think I would’ve made it here without the rural experience I had in Toowoomba and all the things I learnt during that time. I now have a budding passion for rural healthcare and hope to return to Toowoomba one day as a doctor! I also learnt how to get out of my comfort zone more and this influenced my decision to move interstate on my own and know that I would be able to establish myself in a new place, just as I had the opportunity to do in Toowoomba for five weeks.
Whatever your goals are, I couldn’t recommend a rural placement more. They’re short and sweet but you learn so much that can be applied in your career and life in the future. Goodluck!
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!