CQUni students absorb 'gum tree diplomacy' of GROW Rural Program

Published:07 August 2018

TOP: Paramedic Science student Linda Anderson (left) and Nursing student Natalie Bird have been part of the GROW Rural Program arranged by Health Workforce Queensland. BELOW: Linda and Natalie pictured at various stops on the tour.

People often take for granted the health and emergency services based in rural communities.

However, without a pipeline of professionals who are prepared to move to smaller towns and embrace the rural lifestyle, there's no certainty they will always be there.

That's why CQUniversity Townsville Paramedic Science student Linda Anderson signed up to form connections across a range of rural communities as part of the GROW Rural Program of Health Workforce Queensland.

CQUniversity Gladstone Nursing student Natalie Bird also signed on for GROW, which takes 30 health students to small towns for three days a year, across three years of their degree.

The participating students represent disciplines including medicine, nursing, paramedics, physiotherapy and nutrition.

Visiting places like Woorabinda, Theodore, Biloela and Moura, they discuss local social issues, observe the integration of health and emergency services, inspect technology available in local hospitals, canvass the range of allied health delivery and get to know community leaders at gatherings, in the hope that lasting relationships will form.

Ms Anderson has fond memories of growing up in Theodore before moving to live in Rockhampton, Gatton and Western Australia, where she worked in the agricultural industry.

She currently juggles her Paramedic Science studies in Townsville with work as a grazing extension officer.

"As a single person, I have the flexibility to consider moving and working in a small rural community. This GROW Rural Program has reinforced my desire to go back and connect with those communities once I graduate," Ms Anderson says.

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