Last year, UTS Master of Orthoptics student Heidi completed an unforgettable placement in the far north of Australia.
From sleeping on airport floors to nearly running out of petrol in the enormous Kakadu National Park, my placement in Darwin was truly a once in a life time opportunity!
In September I went on placement for three-weeks at the Royal Darwin Hospital. This was my first rural placement and it gave me new experiences and helped me to further gain independence as an Orthoptist, and of course, I saw parts of this beautiful country I would otherwise have never seen!
Our supervising orthoptist, Maddy, was great. She included us so that we could be involved as much as possible. Every day was different and it was so exciting getting to work in a hospital setting where we were never sure what sort of case we might see next.
We were able to assess a wide variety of patients including emergency cases, neurological disorders, paediatrics, and lots of general ophthalmology. It was a great way to revise and see conditions that were rare or even unheard of.
Working closely with some of the Aboriginal communities also provided us with a change of pace and we were lucky enough to attend a screening day with the outreach program in two very rural Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Both these communities are inaccessible during the wet season due to surrounding flooding, so it is imperative that they and others like it receive screening once a year. And the method of transport to reach these remote groups? Small planes!
My advice to anyone considering a placement like this – definitely do it!
Second Year Orthoptics Student
Placement at Royal Darwin Hospital