Pauline Eldridge recently had the privilege of completing a six-week Paediatric placement at the Royal Darwin Hospital, supported by the RIPPL Team at Flinders NT. Being the first Speech Pathology student from the University of Newcastle to undertake a placement in the Northern Territory she really had no idea what to expect!
During her placement, Pauline worked with inpatients and outpatients of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds. Her patients ranged between the ages of 4 months to 10 years of age with a variety of speech, language and feeding difficulties. She also participated in an outreach trip to Katherine Hospital where there is no speech pathologist on site.
Pauline says, “Over the six weeks I was on placement, I felt my confidence grow while stepping out of my comfort zone daily.
“Working on my project of assessing language delays in Aboriginal children, I was able to learn from the children and their families. These families were from remote communities, where English was quite often their third or fourth language.
“As such, my understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal culture strengthened, deepening my respect for Aboriginal languages, traditions and their stories”.
Outside placement, Pauline was able to meet other health students staying at Flinders NT student accommodation, enjoying weekly Trivia nights, the occasional communal dinner and camping trips to national parks. “I know that the relationships I have fostered on this placement with fellow students, I will keep for life”, says Pauline.
Albert Einstein once said “learning is an experience, everything else is just information”. Reflecting on her experience, Pauline says, “Clinical placement in the Northern Territory is challenging, unique, educational and rewarding. I know this placement has made me ready to start my career”.