New 2023 GROW Rural South West Queensland Cohort Commencing as a Long-Term Health Workforce Solution

21 September 2023

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From Friday 13 to Sunday 15 October, a new cohort of 21 health students will visit the South West Queensland communities of St George and Roma, where they will participate in Health Workforce Queensland’s (HWQ) GROW Rural program. The first South West Queensland 2020 – 2022 cohort was based on a rural immersion approach which is now transitioning to a longitudinal rural end-to-end workforce solution model.

GROW Rural is an initiative of HWQ, a not for profit, non-government Rural Workforce Agency for primary health workforce in Queensland, focused on ensuring remote, rural, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have access to highly skilled health professionals when and where they need them, now and into the future.  

The GROW Rural South West Queensland (GROW Rural SWQ) program is supported by funding from Western Queensland PHN through the Australian Government’s PHN Program, and we would like to extend our appreciation for this support.

By taking a collaborative approach, HWQ works with participating communities, service providers and health professionals to take the lead in program development and facilitation. Importantly, GROW Rural’s whole of community approach offers community members, organisations and service providers the opportunity to participate in growing their region’s future workforce.

GROW Rural SWQ provides first-year medical, nursing, midwifery, dentistry and allied health students with a unique experience to develop familiarity and a deeper understanding of the potential of the professional and personal life they could have working in rural Queensland. By cultivating strong connections with the health workforce community and the broader community, the GROW Rural program encourages health students to return to rural communities for their clinical placements and to consider rural practice as a future career opportunity.

HWQ Future Workforce Team Leader, Meredith Connor said, “GROW Rural SWQ is excited to work with South West Queensland health professionals and their communities again to continue to develop the optimum conditions to grow and retain a local health workforce. While GROW Rural is a community led program, HWQ ensures the pathways into local employment are shaped to meet the specific workforce needs of each community. GROW Rural SWQ is also reaping the benefits of Western Queensland PHN funding to support the early stages of GROW as a workforce solution in their region.”

During the 2023 GROW Rural SWQ program, students will:

  • Tour Goondir Health Service, St George Medical Centre and Roma Hospital

  • Get creative with a local Indigenous artist

  • Participate in clinical skill sessions with local health professionals at Vital Health

  • Tour and dine at Providence Grove Citrus Farm

  • Billet with local families

  • Make new friends at a Roma community BBQ hosted by the Maranoa Regional Council

  • Tour and lunch at Western Queensland Spirit

HWQ CEO, Chris Mitchell said, “We are excited about the new student cohort commencing in South West Queensland and it is great to see the enthusiasm and support from community groups and key stakeholders. We look forward to a successful and rewarding event which encourages students to ultimately live, learn, work and play in South West Queensland.”

Sandy Gillies, Chief Executive Officer, WQPHN said, “Western Queensland Primary Health Network (WQPHN) is proud to support the GROW Rural (SWQ) program as part of its strategic priority to develop a well-supported workforce that meets the needs of rural and remote areas. The GROW Rural (SWQ) program offers valuable local experience for emerging healthcare professionals, empowering them to contribute to a coordinated and well-connected healthcare system that delivers positive patient experiences and person-centred care. Alongside HWQ, we are committed to achieving our goal of ensuring that everyone has equal access to quality healthcare services and look forward to our continued partnership for this critical program.”

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