Speech pathology clinical placements in Fiji

Joanne Walters, Gwendalyn Webb, Suzanne Hopf, Sally Hewat, Nicole Byrne, G O'Toole

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Securing clinical placements, within the Australian speech pathology workforce can be a challenging issue. Yet, students require quality and diversity in their placement experiences to meet entry level requirements for SPA range of practice and competency based occupational standards, Extending clinical education opportunities to the international arena provides an opportunity to meet student learning needs and support service development in under-serviced regions of the world.
This paper describes and evaluates an innovative clinical placement experience of six final year speech pathology students from the University of Newcastle (UON). In October 2015, three UON staff in the company of a Fijian cultural broker (a UON alumnus) completed a scoping trip to Fiji where potential placement sites were identified through the development of relationships with key stakeholders. In July - August 2016, the six students undertook a four-week placement in Fiji. Evaluation of the placement by three stakeholders groups (Fijian contact personnel, and UON students and staff) supports the continuation of similar ventures. UON students and staff recognized the opportunity for students to gain relevant clinical experience in three important areas: working with a multicultural and multi-lingual caseload; gaining experience in a school based disability context; and, opportunity to practice as part of a multidisciplinary student team with OT colleagues. Fijian contact personnel valued opportunities for inter-professional collaboration and professional development activities provided by the students. Positive outcomes for all stakeholders support the continuation of similar speech pathology clinical placements in Fiji.


ConferenceSpeech Pathology Australia National Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleWiFi: Working and Investing in Future Innovations
OtherEach year Speech Pathology Australia conducts a National Conference for the benefit of its members and the speech pathology profession. The event provides delegates with a prime opportunity to update their knowledge and skills, while building networks to enable them to remain leaders in a competitive field.
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