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Turrbal and Jagera Country
Level 4, 348 Edward Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Welcome to the first article in our new series, 'Meet our Rural Health Professionals'. We'll be sharing real-life stories from health professionals living, working and making a real difference in rural and remote communities within Queensland. There is nothing like learning from others, hearing about their journey, and what it is really like to be a health professional in our smaller communities.
In October last year the Health Workforce Queensland team were in Charleville with health students participating in our GROW Rural South West Queensland immersion program. Jed Owen, a paramedic who is studying to be a psychologist, was part of the GROW Rural program and shared his rural journey with the students. Jed had previously received funding support through the Health Workforce Scholarship Program in Queensland to assist him with his provisional psychologist supervision costs. We took the opportunity to connect and chat with Jed to see where he is now, how his career change was progressing and how life in Charleville is for him and his family.
HWQ - Jed you are in the process of transitioning from paramedic to psychologist. Can you tell us a little about your time as a paramedic?
Jed - I have spent 10 years as a paramedic, working in Mt Isa, Goondiwindi, and Charleville. I worked as acting OIC at times. I most enjoyed helping the community and patients. I made a lot of friends and have been a part of the rural health workforce all this time.
HWQ - What inspired you to make the move and become a psychologist?
Jed - This was inspired by working as a peer support officer in the ambulance service. As a peer support officer, I had a week training in Brisbane with the Priority One Team. We were taught some counselling skills and it was a way to help my workmates who may have attended a “challenging” job or were wanting someone to have a talk with. The learning within that week spurred my desire to know more about psychology.
HWQ - What additional training or qualifications have you had to acquire?
Jed - In becoming a provisional psychologist, I have completed an undergraduate degree, plus fourth year honours, followed by a Master of Professional Psychology (1 year), I am now about to commence my internship which is 1 year, and once completed I can apply for registration without provisions. I have also been exploring the option of further study with the Master of Clinical Psychology.
HWQ – That is a lot of dedication! How did the Health Workforce Scholarship Program help you during this time and how did you find out about it?
Jed - It helped with some of the ongoing costs incurred with supervision. I heard about the funding through other psychologists, and it was an easy and supportive process.
HWQ –Any words of wisdom or advice for health professionals who want to undertake professional development?
Jed - Do it…. Make yourself better for your clients and you. Professional development ensures you don’t become stale and ensures you grow. Professional development is mandatory for many professionals though it is always good to keep moving towards the you that you want to be.
HWQ - Can you tell us about living and working in the rural Queensland community of Charleville?
Jed - Living and working in Charleville. It may not have everything you want but it certainly has all you may need. The community is amazing, everyone is so very supportive. There are a lot of things happening either in town, from the street Christmas or Easter parties, to the Halfway There Shindig and multicultural festivals, rodeos, triathlons, balls, native animals and more stars at night than anywhere on the coast. It’s what you make it out here and the people are genuine. We have made it our home and glad that kids get to experience great teachers, and activities. We have swimming, cricket, dancing, football, touch footy, girl guides and scouts. There is a tennis club and squash too. And if what you want to do isn’t there yet, I am sure you will find some people in town to join in and help out with whatever you may want to do.
HWQ - Such a great community spirit. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for health professionals, or health students who may or may not have considered working rural or remote?
Jed–(Experience and) enjoy the outback and you may want to stay. It’s a wonderful place. Support out here is amazing, and people want to see you do well. The locals will want you to stay, we get a lot of (new health professionals) out for a bit and then (they) leave. Clients know when you are invested in the town, they notice and throw themselves behind you, which is an amazing experience.
All the best with your studies and ongoing professional development Jed. Hopefully we’ll see you again when GROW Rural South West Queensland returns to Charleville.
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Pictured above: Jed sharing his journey with GROW Rural South West Queensland health students in October 2022
Pictured below: Jed with one of his daughters