Rural study placement opens new career opportunities


Gold Coaster, third-year occupational therapy (OT) student Caitlin Slym, had never been to a rural and remote location before she decided to gain a clinical experience placement in North West Queensland.

Caitlin said it provided her with life skills and one of the best learning experiences that she has encountered during study.

A Southern Cross University student, she has completed a six-week placement in schools and kindergartens in Mount Isa and Normanton.

She's pictured with JCU Occupational Therapy Clinical Lead, Erika Finnila, and some of the puppets used in their work with children.

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

While some students are unsure about completing a remote placement, Caitlin said it had provided her with a great experience, both clinically and personally.

“Not knowing anyone out here or how the service ran did bring some nerves for me, but honestly it has provided me with the best learning experience I’ve got so far,” she said.

“Having never been to a rural and remote location previously, the support provided by JCU has made my placement so positive.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my placement in Normanton, particularly seeing how the school was different to what I had previously experienced.

“My  fellow OT student Meg and I became involved in events including karaoke, street parades and rodeos, which were a lot of fun.

“Living in a rural and remote area for the past six weeks has definitely opened my eyes to where I can work and the different opportunities I can get.”


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