When Caroline Macleod set off on her regional placement on the North-West Coast, she had no idea it would change her life.
Caroline was Melbourne-based, studying psychology in Tasmania. Her final Master of Psychology (Clinical) placement provided opportunities she had not anticipated. Caroline had no intention of staying in Tasmania after graduation, but is now Clinical Psychologist for the Tasmania Health Service (THS) at the North West Regional Hospital, working in the mental health in-patients and sub-acute rehabilitation units. She is also a private practitioner and has worked with the specialist Diabetes service. Caroline was offered a full-time THS role as a direct result of her placement, an opportunity she says she would not have had anywhere else. Caroline commenced immediately and five years on has no intentions to move on.
“If I were in a metropolitan area or larger regional area, it’s really unlikely that I would have had the opportunities and experiences that I have had at this stage of my career,” said Caroline.
Caroline said there are fantastic opportunities for broadening and strengthening your skill base in regional Tasmania. But, to make the most of the experiences available you, you must be willing to learn independently and use initiative and seek out supervision.
“If you are willing to do that, and be proactive, the opportunities are incredible. The biggest misunderstanding students have about regional placements is around the breadth of experience that you gain. The is so much more on offer than people realise.”
Caroline explained that in metropolitan areas you are generally in a role with a narrower scope.
“There are fewer clinicians in rural areas than there are in metropolitan areas or bigger regional settings. With fewer clinicians, you must deal with whoever comes in the door, which is incredibly varied.”
Despite accepting the full-time permanent position offered to her on placement, Caroline took secondments to other roles accessing one incredible opportunity after the next.
Caroline had intended to go back to Melbourne, but instead, her now husband moved to Tasmania. They live just outside Devonport, where they have put down roots.
“When it came time to make the decision to return to the mainland or stay here, it was the job opportunities here that were just too valuable to pass up.
“I love what I do here, and I have a supportive network of colleagues, clinical supervisors, and peer supervisors.”
Caroline also loves the North-West Coast lifestyle because it allows for the attainment of the elusive work-life balance.
“It is relaxed but close to all the shopping and culture you could want. The fresh produce, food, and wine are amazing. We have the cleanest air in the world and an environment that is just beautiful!”
Caroline’s top tips for making the most out of placement
- Do your homework, find out from the placement what the main aspects of the role are so you can brush up on anything or read up on anything they may want you to have basic knowledge of
- Go with an open mind, try different things, and put your hand up for opportunities
- Be willing to be flexible enough to work well in a team
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, in fact, pick people's brains! You shouldn’t feel that you need to know everything.