Student News

Karratha Student Vocational Experience

By Audrey Tweddell, Occupational Therapy student

Audrey and Courtney Karratha SVEI had the chance to participate in an amazing opportunity provided by Rural Health West, which allowed me to experience working in a rural country town called Karratha. This trip gave me a chance to put the theory I had learnt at university into practice. The team at the Population Health Clinic were extremely welcoming and enthusiastic about getting us involved as much as possible in all the different aspects of working as an Occupational Therapist in a rural community. I was extremely pleased with how much one-on-one time I received with my mentor. This allowed me to ask questions and have in depth discussions. My mentor shared many of her experiences with me and she would challenge me and ask me questions and ask for my opinion. My mentor taught me to be an OT in a rural community you must be flexible, eager to make a change and hard working. 

I felt part of the team for the very short time I was there. I was able to participate in team meetings, home visits and assessments. Being included in these things meant that I was able to see the OT’s important role in a rural setting. I learnt about hand therapy, paediatrics and geriatrics, which was all included in the one clinic. Working with a multidisciplinary team (speech pathologists, social workers, physiotherapists and nurses) meant I was able to get an understanding of all disciplines. I was invited to participate in sessions run by the speech pathologists and physiotherapists to get a better understanding of their role.  I found this very useful as I will most likely be working with a team similar to that in the future. 

I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who was studying OT, as it is such an eye opener to see how much more support rural towns need. It reinforced my love for the country and how much I want to be a part of a small community and make a big difference where it is much needed.  

I hadn’t yet done a paediatrics unit at university, and the clinic was predominantly working with children. This was a challenge as I hadn’t learnt enough theory about child development to put into practice. However, I learnt so much that I will take into my pediatrics unit in semester two. 

Overall the trip was organised and executed very well. The aspect that all costs were covered was a massive appeal to me, and I’m sure same with many other university students. 

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