Nickee Priestman is a fourth year Speech Pathology student from Edith Cowan University (ECU) who has recently completed her 17 week clinical placement with the WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) in Geraldton, Western Australia (WA).
Nickee is also the Vice President and an active member of WAALHIIBE (WA Allied Health Interested In Bush Experience) rural health club. WAALHIIBE is part of the National Rural Health Student Network and one of two rural health clubs in WA.
Why did Nickee choose to do her rural placement with WACRH in Geraldton?
Originally from Cunderdin, a Wheatbelt town located 150 kilometres east of Perth, Nickee always knew she wanted to work rurally.
Nickee heard about rural placements opportunities for allied health students with WACRH in Geraldton back in her first year of university.
When in her second year of university Nickee came across an advert with WAALHIIBE promoting a two week rural vocational experience in Geraldton with WACRH and Rural Health West.
She was successful in applying and joined ten other allied health students from various Western Australian universities on the placement. The students worked as a team and learned about one another’s professions. They experienced a range of rural health events in Geraldton and Mt Magnet including simulation education, community programs and Nickee also spent 2 days working with speech pathologists to learn what the job was really about.
Nickee enjoyed the rural vocational experience in Geraldton so much that she asked WACRH and her university to come back for a semester long fourth year placement with WACRH.
What has Nickee enjoyed most about her rural placement with WACRH in Geraldton?
Nickee has enjoyed the opportunity to work in a variety of different settings whilst on her rural placement with WACRH.
She said that there has been a greater range of what you can see and do on rural placements.
She has worked in residential aged care, hospital settings, schools, clinics in WACRH’s EDSIM Centre and spent the last 3 weeks of her placement in Mt Magnet working with children at the local high school and at the Bidi Bidi Women and Children’s Centre.
Nickee has also enjoyed the social opportunities of living with other allied health students in WACRH’s Milford Street flats. They are located just a 5 minute walk to WACRH, the hospital and amenities.
Who can do a clinical placement with WACRH?
WACRH works with universities across Australia and internationally to develop rural and remote allied health, nursing and pharmacy placements and public health project opportunities tailored to the university and students’ learning outcomes. Placements and programs aim to provide students with the skills to work in rural health.
While WACRH’s clinical placement structures vary according to student needs, placements have a focus on inter-professional learning and service-learning to align with the needs of the local community.
WACRH accepts students from varying health professions, including: Physiotherapy, Public Health, Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Speech Pathology, Paramedicine, Pharmacy, Dietetics, Public Health, Nursing and more.
How do I find out more information on Allied Health clinical placements with WACRH?
Visit WACRH’s website – www.wacrh.uwa.edu.au
WACRH Facebook - www.facebook.com/wacentreforruralhealth
What is WAALHIIBE?
The Western Australian ALlied Health Interested in Bush Experience (WAALHIIBE) is a student rural health club for allied health students studying at university in Western Australia. It provides opportunities for students who are interested in experiencing rural practice.
For more information, visit the WAALHIIBE website - www.nrhsn.org.au/waalhiibe
What opportunities does WAALHIIBE provide to allied health students?
If you have any interest in working rurally, WAALHIIBE offers allied health students firsthand experiences of what rural and remote areas have to offer.
It provides educational experiences and activities for students, including vocational trips to rural and remote areas, rural high school visits, cultural awareness training, Indigenous community event attendance, guest speaker nights, skills training and social events.
It provides great opportunities for students to enhance future employment opportunities, build professional relationships and meet fellow allied health students.
Registrations for WAALHIIBE membership is free and can be filled out through the National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN) website - www.nrhsn.org.au/waalhiibe/register
How and why did Nickee become Vice President for WAALHIIBE?
Nickee found out about WAALHIIBE through advertisements by the Student Guild in the first year of her university. She attended many WAALHIIBE events after that.
After attending the rural vocational experience in Geraldton in her second year, she was approached and asked to become more involved in WAALHIIBE. She became the Rural High School Visiting Officer, assisting with organising events for allied health students to visit rural schools.
This year, with students graduating and a restructure of the WAALHIIBE committee, Nickee was asked to become the Vice President. She hasn’t looked back!
Photo caption: Speech Pathology student Nickee Priestman from Edith Cowan University on rural placement at the WA Centre for Rural Health in Geraldton.