Embracing Adventure: A Rural Speech Pathology Placement in Charleville

"I wanted to see as much as I could within the spectrum of speech pathology work," said Lachie, a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) student at The University of Queensland.

His eight-week rural placement in the outback town of Charleville wasn't just a career opportunity; it became a transformative experience that encompassed professional growth and personal exploration.

Professional Growth Across Diverse Areas

Lachie's goal was to gain a comprehensive understanding of speech pathology by engaging in a multitude of experiences. At Charleville Hospital, he was immersed in a diverse range of speech pathology aspects.

"I’ve got to do pretty much everything you can imagine to do with speech," said Lachie.

From assisting paediatric outpatients to conducting communication assessments for inpatients and participating in outreach programs, Lachie's experience encompassed the full spectrum of speech pathology practices.

Weekends of Adventure and Exploration

Contrary to initial expectations, Lachie's weekends in Charleville were anything but dull.

"One thing that surprised me a lot is that you’re out kind of in the middle of nowhere, and it’s very far from Brisbane, but there has not been a single weekend where it hasn’t been busy.”

Camping trips, hiking expeditions, and witnessing mesmerizing sunrise views became a regular part of his weekends. Lachie's weekends were not just about relaxation, but an opportunity to immerse himself in the vibrant essence of rural life.

One of the amazing sunrise views Lachie witnessed on his placement


Cultural Understanding and Diverse Interactions

Engaging with diverse cultures and interacting with people from various backgrounds was a highlight for Lachie.

"It’s good to put our cultural capability training into practice but also to see it in person," he said.

This practical application of cultural competency training enriched his understanding and proved rewarding and educational.

Passion for Impactful Speech Pathology

Lachie's career choice in speech pathology was driven by his desire to create a positive impact.

"I wanted to have a job where you actually, as cliché as it is, help people. You can make a difference," he said.

His passion was evident in his dedication to assisting children with speech and literacy challenges and supporting older adults facing communication and swallowing difficulties.

Guidance and Interprofessional Collaboration

Lachie's placement was guided by a clinical educator who provided a balance of guidance and autonomy.

"100%, my educator has been awesome," Lachie said.

Collaborating with professionals from various healthcare disciplines enhanced his interprofessional skills and provided a holistic perspective on patient care.

Considering a Rural Path After Graduation

The transformative experience in Charleville left Lachie contemplating a rural career after graduation.

“This placement has definitely made me consider going rural after graduation,” he said.

He discovered that despite potential challenges, staying connected and returning home was feasible. The sense of community and a plethora of growth opportunities made a rural path an attractive option for Lachie's future.

Read more about Lachie's experience

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Learn more about UQ’s Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) or Master of Speech Pathology Studies

Bachelor of Speech Pathology Master of Speech Pathology

Last updated:
24 August 2023