Remote study placement influences health student’s career aspirations


Final year university student, Jodi Lennox’s career as an occupational therapist (OT) has been significantly shaped by her positive study placement in the small mining town of Weipa on the north-western side of Cape York Peninsula.

Jodi said the community’s welcome and the diversity of her work experience at Western Cape College influenced her to return to work as a part-time allied health assistant at Capability House, Weipa, while continuing her study.

During her days off, she completes her OT course online and returns to Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus for regular face-to-face study periods. 

Her placement was coordinated by the James Cook University Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health Centre, which delivers rural training experiences for medical, nursing, midwifery, dental and allied health students.

“I love working in remote locations because you can see the difference you make in peoples’ lives”, she said.

“During my placement I got to work with a diverse case load, while having opportunities to do work that I probably wouldn’t have had if I had been in a bigger or more urban setting.

“On top of the great work experience with a welcoming team and community, I also enjoyed the beautiful town and surrounds to explore outside of work hours.”

Murtupini Centre for Rural and Remote Health Centre Director, Associate Professor Catrina Felton-Busch,  said Jodi’s experience in Weipa  was typical of students who went into study placements in  remote communities with open minds, often having never previously experienced remote living.

“The example of Jodi’s enthusiasm for her placement and location, as well as her positive and friendly work and learning environment, are considered to be important influencers for students considering working in rural and remote regions after graduating.”

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