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Brianna Lewis, Curtin University final year speech pathology student

For my final year adult speech pathology placement, I spent 10 weeks in Albany at WACHS Seniors Health and Community Rehabilitation (SHCR).

This provided opportunity to work with adult clients with rehabilitation goals to improve their speech, language, voice, and/or swallowing function in clinic, community setting and over telehealth. I worked within a multidisciplinary team consisting of speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, a social worker, nurses, dietitians, allied health assistants and the administration team.

I initially felt apprehensive about being away from home, but the community at the clinic and more broadly were very welcoming. I had placement four days a week, with three days over each weekend to explore the beautiful Kinjarling beaches and walks.

Highlights of my placement experience were forming therapeutic relationships with clients, working within the multidisciplinary team, and visiting clients (and respective bakeries!) at Denmark and Mt Barker fortnightly. I felt very supported by my clinical educators and loved being a part of the multidisciplinary team as it prompted me to view each client’s goals and circumstances holistically.

Being on a rural placement also provided an opportunity to work with a diverse range of client presentations, building my clinical skills across a variety of practice areas to support my development as a generalist student speech pathologist. Some highlights of the broader Albany experience were the beaches, walks and scenery, Midweek at Mids community group and meeting other allied health students.

Going rurally on placement was an invaluable experience both clinically and personally, and really opened my eyes to the benefits of working rurally as a new graduate. I built confidence and competence clinically, and experienced living in a new place. It was incredibly fulfilling to collaborate with clients and their families to achieve goals that were personally functional to their lives.

Acknowledgement of Country