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When I look back over my time since graduating – I can’t help being surprised that it’s only been 18 months. To be fair – in that time I’ve moved 4 times and had 3 very different jobs. When I graduated I had a very clear view of what I wanted – a dietetics job. I had a willingness to move away from Melbourne – even interstate if I needed and I was lucky enough to love both clinical and community dietetics work. I applied for any job that interested me or that seemed to offer a good experience… from Melbourne all the way to WA. In the end it was Latrobe Regional Hospital in Traralgon that offered me a locum position and my vital first experience. I had no hesitations at moving out to Traralgon for the locum – I had completed regional placements through university and was willing to trust the general stereotype that regional sites are friendly and supportive – I was right. A six week locum turned into 4 months and provided me with some of the best clinical experience I could have had. It was at times stressful and the steepest learning curve of my life, but that just made the job more satisfying. At the end of my locum, I elected not to apply for a permanent position that had come out of my locum as I had a much more interesting experience roll my way. When you are offered the opportunity of a lifetime they say you should always take it, and looking back I guess that what’s I did.
After 4 months of clinical work I took on a 6 month contract working as a remote nutritionist based in Alice Springs and visiting communities in outback NT. This job was about as different as it possibly could’ve been from the clinical job in Traralgon. This was health promotion and community work as its base with large levels of travel to places that very few people in this country will ever get to see. It involved trips to the base of Uluru, Kings Canyon, out to the WA border and in between, working and living in communities who truly did need my help and that had very little access to it. The work was challenging, confronting and very different to what I had ever done before and the social scene in Alice made me feel right at home within a week. When it came to making a decision to leave, I can assure you all, it was not a decision that was made lightly (or without an occasional tantrum…). However, as I said… when an opportunity knocks…
In February this year I made the move to (literally) greener pastures, leaving the red centre behind and heading back to Victoria, setting my course for Sunraysia Community Health Services in Mildura. It is here that I found my most amazing opportunity yet. Mildura is a regional town in Victoria, but should never be viewed poorly for that reason… we have amazing food, places to drink and dance, a river to play on, as many sporting clubs as you could imagine, and all with that close community small town feel. My job is the icing on the cake to the perfect location. I see one-on-one clients for any condition you could possibly imagine a dietitian seeing. I do group work with community groups who ask me to talk, health promotion groups, sporting groups and rehabilitation groups. I do consultancy work with nursing homes and residential facilities as well as health promotion days and involvement in organization wide and community events. Best of all though – I have control of my diary – how many clients I see a day, how long I spend with new clients and review clients, when I book in group talks and when I need to take time out to do admin or catch-up work if needed. The organization itself is full of welcoming staff, work life balance promotion, support, social events and a generally positive attitude which is always huge bonus!
It’s been a pretty jam packed 18 months between my working life and social life but Mildura is my resting place for now – and with good reason… For how long? Who ever really knows the answer to that question, but one thing is for certain – the path to my (so far) final destination has had one truly amazing view… I hope that if you’ve read this all the way through you come away with one thought – regional jobs are not the last resort… they give you amazing professional experiences, even better personal experiences and allow you to enjoy one pretty incredible life!