Allied health professionals are key members of rural and remote multi-disciplinary healthcare teams. Many health practitioners working in rural and remote areas are generalists in their profession. They can deliver services in a range of clinical areas and settings, and provide care for clients with a wide variety of healthcare needs.
Being a rural generalist in your allied health profession means that you can use your skills and knowledge to make a difference in your community.
The Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway provides support at each career stage, with rural generalist training positions for early career practitioners, and development programs for senior allied health professionals. The pathway provides mentoring and networking, funded post-graduate training, development-focussed positions, and opportunities to work in and develop innovative services.
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Rural generalist training positions
Allied health rural generalist training positions - video transcript
The Allied Health Rural Generalist Training Positions are part of the Queensland Health Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway. The training positions include four key aspects: postgraduate education in rural generalist practice; four hours training and development per week as part of your role; working with a profession-specific supervisor; working on service development projects that are relevant to the team and to the community.
Starting out in an allied health rural generalist training position is really giving someone a great career start. They can come in and learn about different services and how to be innovative and look at a broad range of case types. Where you go from here, really, the world is your oyster.
Our clinicians are supported to make positive and innovative changes, to come across and really work with the challenges we face day to day. Working with allied health professionals undergoing the Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway means we can really support them to be innovative in their service delivery and come up with great ways to provide service to many rural communities across a varied distance.
To anyone considering it, I would say ‘do it’. Like, it's scary, you're moving away from your family or your friends and things like that. It's pretty daunting, yeah, granted, but I feel like being a health care professional is daunting in the first place. What you do matters, and you have to be professional and you have to be careful. These are people's lives.
Something that I've learnt from the program and being here rurally is how important it is to understand your community. Coming out here and understanding what's important to people out here, what their actual goals are and how they get by every day, how they're feeling and how they are part of their community. I think that's something, a big thing, that I've learned being out here.
Rural generalist trainees
Rural generalist trainees - video transcript
My name is Kristi. I am a new grad physiotherapist at the Gayndah rural allied health team. So, I'm about six months into this position now.
And we’re both here to learn. We've both got that kind of, there's so much to learn, especially as new grads. So, I think straight out of uni you've kind of got that attitude ‘gotta learn, gotta learn, gotta learn’. And you get that out here because it's always learning. I don't just see hands, I don't just see paediatrics, it's anything. If you look in my referrals folder, it goes from compression garments to scar management to vascular management, hands. It's great.
Look the personality traits of a great rural allied health generalist is someone who's got a bit of sense of adventure. They’re the problem solvers. They’re the people that are really keen to make a big difference.
With this program I've been able to come in and gain a lot of new skills. I've been able to liaise with a lot of different dietitians across Australia to help develop my skills in this area, and it's just been invaluable to my learning opportunity really.
I think in the end, it's going to make me more confident, it's going to make me more capable, more skilled. Like, I'm going to be fine. So, I think it's important to put yourself out there and you know, jump a little bit. But you'll be fine. It's great, it's really good.
Everyone who works within allied health is, they’re all go-getters. They're all here for fun really, and to work hard. They’re career-driven, wanting to progress because there are those opportunities.
I'd say a rural generalist training pathway position would be a great first job. Especially for me, you get to jump into the deep end straight away. You get such a massive variety of different referrals - inpatients, outpatients. It's a supported position, so you don't have to feel like you're the only person there. There's help if you need to get it there.
I've always been quite an ambitious person, and I've really loved being able to just fast track all the time, and doing this program means that I get to gain a lot of skills. I get to learn a lot about not only clinical stuff, but a lot of management and project-type work.
In 20 years’ time, I will definitely look back and think this was an amazing first (as a new grad), an amazing first job to be in.
Rural and remote practice
Rural and remote practice - video transcript
When I was studying occupational therapy, I did a placement up in Weipa which I absolutely loved, kind of the rural aspects where you get to know the team that you work with. Your work really closely alongside speech pathology (and) physiotherapy in the multidisciplinary team.
When I was a student, I was at a large metropolitan hospital just in one area, and over time you would get you get really good at it, but it's always in the same area. But working out in Gayndah rurally, in the one day you might cover seven, eight different areas of OT (occupational therapy), so it's so broad.
Something that I've learnt from the program is how important it is to understand your community. Coming out here and understanding what's important to people out here and you know what their actual goals are and how they get by every day.
Being in a rural and remote setting, you kind of get to jump in the deep end and you get to just have a go, and you learn along the way. But you do have a lot of support from other dietitians at other locations, so you never really feel like you're unsupported. But it's great in terms of career development, so I've met lots of different people and I've learned lots of new skills and hopefully that will help me transition into a more senior role, so I can take those skills with me anywhere.
Within public health, working with other professionals is really good. You have a lot more contact with, say, diabetes educators and dietitians, and social work. You know, we work a lot more closely. You learn a lot more about looking after a patient holistically.
Definitely, I think that working in a remote area helps in terms of those career opportunities and that progression. You get exposed to a lot more. It obviously piqued my interest a little bit, and so for me, I've been able to progress into an allied health clinical lead (position). So now I'm working not just as a podiatrist but across all the allied health disciplines, sort of helping with that day-to-day progression (orf the service and team).
For me, providing a service in our rural area is great because our clients may not otherwise receive that service. We can make a real difference and we can change someone's life by supporting them through their healthcare need.
Rural and remote lifestyle
Rural and remote lifestyle - video transcript
My name is Bjorn. I grew up in tropical far north Queensland at a little place called Atherton. So, I grew up in a rural area doing everything you'd expect a rural person would be doing. Living in the rural community, it's great. Playing tennis and playing cricket and just being part of the community. You know, Saturday night, it might be down at the bowls club and just being a part of it.
So, as part of our team here in Gayndah, we’re made up of many and from afar. But we come here and really meet with our local communities and become part of the community. From a lifestyle perspective, we've really got great opportunities. We get out in the mountains, we go climbing with the kids and we paddle board on the river on the weekend.
The community out here is amazing. There's always something to do. My family back home tells me I'm more social than I've ever been. But there's always something on, so whether it's sports activities or different social party events or farewell parties or welcoming parties, there's always something to do.
Coming out here was a really big change. What made me come out here was the career opportunities and it has been, you know, everything and more to be able to work out here. What made me stay, part of it is that career progression and that opportunity to continue to develop in that area and to be supported to develop. Part of it as well, is that kind of lifestyle; you’re sort of brought into the real community feel, not just in our department, but also in the hospital. When I've lived in other locations, there is that missing piece of that sense of connectedness and that sense of community. So, when I'm doing my job at work, I want to do the right thing for my community and the people who are in my community.
The type of work that Mount Isa offers, a rural community, rural work offers, is more flexible and family orientated. So, we've done it because it makes raising a family easier. You know, I've got no commute time. We can pursue our hobbies because it takes us 5 minutes to get home, and we can still fit everything in in the evening. We've got that work-life balance.
Training and development
Training and development - video transcript
I've learned so much through the program as well, in terms of looking at how service delivery is provided, planning how to set up a service. So it's been great skills to have, which is really a great incentive in doing the program, But also you get to communicate with other people who are on the program and you know, talk to them about how they how they do it, how they manage it, how they find it. So, it's been really great. As part of it, we have to do a project. My project is the repatriation of the renal service from Townsville over to Mount Isa and that is what I guess I based a lot of my subjects on. So, part of the program I guess is empowering us to be able to further our knowledge and our skills.
Because of the different training that I've had to undergo, and specifically into the chronic health conditions, and the support I’ve received from my facilitator, it’s enhanced my understanding of so many different aspects. And then also the training included, not just a graduate diploma, but training in chronic health conditions, training in other psychological treatments and things like that, that really enhanced my overall practice and helped me to give a better quality service. It’s been the whole package, not just one part, it’s been the whole package.
In 20 years’ time, I will definitely look back and think this was (as a new grad) an amazing first job to be in. If I get a complex hands in 20 years’ time, I’ll know what to do. If I get a complex referral for a compression garment, I’ll know what to do because I've had the experience here.
Telehealth services - video transcript
We know that telehealth is an important aspect of the rural generalist model of care. It's supporting us to overcome those tyrannies of distance. It's supporting us to work with our clients in their own home or in their own town and make that a great service that's flexible for us and our clients. So that's been a really great outcome.
It’s something that our hospital really embraces, is that innovative technology. So, we've been able to use telehealth, so we use it in a case conferencing setting - we present cases to specialists and we get advice on their management plan.
Accessing this service, and especially you Frances, has been one of the best things I could have ever had.
Prior to this particular rural development pathway (and related telehealth service development project), for people to access psychology, it was very, very difficult. This service has really filled a gap.
Telehealth can reduce the need to travel either for our clients or for us as a visiting service. We can really get that service right there for a patient when they need it. And that's a fabulous outcome. So, developing our models of care involving telehealth and using our allied health rural generalist skills in project and service development, that's been great for us and our clients.
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Working and training in rural and remote Queensland
More information on the Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway and other benefits and incentives for rural and remote allied health professionals is available on the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland website.
Allied health job opportunities in rural and remote areas, including Allied Health Rural Generalist Training Positions, are advertised on the Work for Us website.Visit Work for Us website