Clinical Audiology Placement in Darwin

Student Reflection

Course: 

Master of Clinical Audiology

Placement Location:

Darwin

Year of Placement:

2022

I had the opportunity to spend six weeks in Darwin completing my main student placement for my Master of Clinical Audiology. Having never been to the Northern Territory before, I feel so lucky to have had the chance to improve my practice skills in a new environment and develop my understanding of the unique challenges and clinical findings observed in this area. I spent time in three different audiology clinics while I was in Darwin, learning from so many experienced and knowledgeable practitioners and observing different interpersonal, clinical reasoning and practice styles.

 

This placement really challenged me to develop my instantaneous problem-solving and flexibility during sessions. Building trust and rapport, maintaining engagement, and making appropriate clinical decisions can be difficult to consider all at once. With the guidance and support of my supervisor, I was able to build up my confidence and independence in these key practice areas, which will be essential for my future career.

 

Coming from Melbourne, this placement opened my eyes to how access to health supports can differ in remote regions compared to metropolitan areas. Working with the paediatric population, timely intervention for a hearing loss is essential, such as having surgery for grommets to resolve ongoing middle ear pathology or to access speech pathology where a hearing loss has contributed to a speech and language delay. It was confronting to witness the disparities in access for families, where those who could afford to go to private specialists could get intervention much quicker than those on the public waiting list. Waitlists for early intervention are extensive for both private and public supports, which is a significant issue when the window for optimal early childhood early intervention is comparatively small. 

 

I am so grateful for the support provided through the ACEN student scholarship.  It relieved the financial pressures associated with accommodation, travel costs and lost income as a result of completing a placement so far from home. It allowed me to truly immerse myself in the experience and focus entirely on learning and developing essential skills for my future career. Having this opportunity has also expanded my thinking about the direction of my future career, and as a result I hope to come back one day and work in the Northern Territory.