Sarah Palmer is a Speech Pathologist based in her hometown of Mildura. She provides outreach services to schools and kindergartens around Mildura and Robinvale, which prompted her to take up an RWAV Health Workforce Scholarship Program grant to attend the Language, Learning and Literacy Conference in Perth. With the knowledge she’s gained about language and literacy difficulties in regional and rural communities, Sarah has been able to enhance her skills and share the knowledge within the local school networks. Hear more from Sarah about how she utilised this upskilling opportunity.
What has your journey in rural health been like so far? How did you came to work at BG Speech Pathology?
I grew up in the small town of Mildura, where I also began my rural health studies in speech pathology. I then relocated to Bendigo to finish my degree but I knew after graduating from university I wanted to return to Mildura to work. As a new graduate in 2017, I was hired at BG Speech Pathology and have been working there ever since.
You are a recipient of the Health Workforce Scholarship Program. How did you use the scholarship?
I used the Health Workforce Scholarship to travel to Perth to attend the Language, Learning and Literacy Conference. I learnt a wealth of knowledge and was able to speak with many different clinicians about the language and literacy difficulties in regional and rural communities. It also provided me with opportunities to make professional contacts, to provide mentoring and to give advice.
How have the skills you’ve learned through the upskilling opportunity impact the health outcomes of your community?
The skills I learnt from the conference has given me more knowledge on how I can help impact the language and learning goals for children in schools and kindergarten.
I provide outreach services to schools and kindergartens around Mildura and Robinvale. In the kindergartens we provide assessment and therapy for the Indigenous children who attend the different centres in Mildura. This program funding is to ensure children are ready for school. In the school setting I provide assessments and small group therapy. I also provide upskilling for teachers and teacher aides to complete programs with students when I am away. I will be sharing the knowledge from the conference within the local school networks so that the impact of improved literacy will be greater within the region.
How did you find the process of applying for the grant? Would you recommend it to other rural health professionals?
I would highly recommend other rural health professionals to apply for this grant. The grant was easy to fill out and it provides clinicians with opportunities they would not have otherwise. Without this grant I would not have been able to attend this conference, it was a wonderful opportunity to upskill outside of Mildura and gain more knowledge on certain topics.
If you are interested in pursuing further studies to upskill as Sarah did, consider applying for a grant. RWAV offers grants and scholarships to allied health professionals working in rural and regional Victoria. Find out more here. If you are interested in working in rural Victoria, see current vacancies on the RWAV website or contact our Recruitment team to learn more: screeningAHN@rwav.com.au.
The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health administered by RWAV in Victoria.