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Rhiannon Butler is a recent physiotherapy graduate from Adelaide who moved to  Horsham,  to gain experience in rural healthcare settings and lifestyle opportunities.

RWAV caught up with her to hear more about her motivation for making the move and how the Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) helped her achieve her career goals, particularly in Women’s Health and Paediatrics.

“I moved to Horsham for the experience in a rural health care setting, for the lifestyle opportunities (netball and great location for rural travel), the ability to gain such a wide clinical experience earlier in my career,” Rhiannon said.

When asked how RWAV funding has helped her professionally and with community interaction Rhiannon said, without the funding provided in the HWSP she wouldn’t have been able to afford the time or money to travel to other states to attend courses.

“RWAV has allowed me to gain scholarships to attend courses in major metropolitan areas in my special interest areas. Particularly in Women’s Health and Paediatrics. I’ve built connections and networks through South Australian and Victorian courses that allowed me to contact other regional and metropolitan physiotherapists to share our knowledge.

“Living in a rural area has meant that I have met like-minded young health professionals, been involved in sporting clubs that have immersed me in the community, and developed partnerships with health professionals in other rural health care settings and larger tertiary hospitals (such as the Royal Children’s Hopsital),” she said.

Rhiannon also has some key tips for health professionals who wish to work in rural Victoria.

“I can’t think of a better start to your healthcare career. Working in a rural area provides so much personal and professional growth. You are required to be autonomous, responsible and driven. I have seen such a variety of patients and worked with such an incredible and talented multidisciplinary team. I have accessed professional development and support networks which have fostered my skills and helped me develop tremendous leadership skills. Without the financial benefits and rural allowances, I wouldn’t have seen and achieved what I have today. 

“There is a great need for rural health care professionals, and you are able to upskill in special interest areas earlier in your career compared to working in the city. In the last three years, I have moved from a new graduate to a grade 1 physiotherapist to a grade 2 physiotherapist. At such an early stage in my career, I have supervised and mentored university students and new graduate Physiotherapists. This is something that in larger metro hospitals can take three to five years. The skills I have learnt and developed will be invaluable in my career.

“I would highly recommend working in a rural area to any new, young health professional.”

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health administered in Victoria by Rural Workforce Agency Victoria.

Are you interested in pursuing professional development activities in the future, such as a course, workshop, conference, or postgraduate studies?

Consider applying for the Health Workforce Scholarship Program. This grant supports health professionals working in private practice in rural and regional Victoria to access up to $10,000 per financial year to train and upskill. Find out more here. 

RWAV provides a no-fee end-to-end recruitment service for health professionals seeking opportunities in general practice, allied health practices, Aboriginal medical services and community health settings. If you are interested in work opportunities in country Victoria, don’t quite find what you’re looking for, we encourage you to reach out to our dedicated recruitment now or phone 03 9349 7800 (Option 1).