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(07) 3105 7800
Turrbal and Jagera Country
Level 4, 348 Edward Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Rachel Brady-Jones is a speech pathologist who owns her own practice, Western Downs Speech Pathology, in the rural Queensland town of Chinchilla. Her business is the only local private full-time practice in the community. Rachel shares with us why she decided to take the leap and open her own practice in Chinchilla and some of the challenges she faced along the way.
"I was working for an established private practice during COVID-19, and they decided to shut their Chinchilla branch down due to the rural location and focus on building their businesses on the East Coast. At that time, I had already decided I wanted to be here for several more years. However, there were no other practices here that I could approach for employment, so after a few nudges from some of my support network, I decided to open my own business.
My biggest challenge was myself. I did not want to open my own practice, but after a few lengthy conversations, I realised I did not want to leave or change my career. So, here I am! Another challenge was working out how to have a business but not feel isolated. That involved networking and contacting the hospital 'speechies' and other colleagues I had previously met on training or worked with. I also contacted other allied health businesses to visit the town to let them know I am opening my own business to see how we can support each other."
Health Workforce Queensland assisted Rachel on her journey by provided funding and grants. Rachel said of the funding that, "ultimately, it has been invaluable; it has prevented me from being burnt out and looking to relocate to another area. The funding and grants Health Workforce Queensland has provided have been crucial to enable me to provide speech pathology services to the community. I have used it for the upskilling and training necessary to support a diverse and complex caseload.
When you work rurally, well, especially in Chinchilla, everyone is so grateful to have a health professional. They have had years where there has not been a speech pathologist, OT or physio, and they appreciate that you’ve chosen to help their community, which is pretty special. Being a generalist in an area like Chinchilla means I have a broad, diverse and complex caseload. Sometimes, you end up in situations where you have to adapt and overcome, but ultimately, it helps you grow as a person, which is pretty rewarding."
To other health care professionals and students considering working rural, Rachel says, "if you're thinking about it, try it. It is a great experience. It has its challenges, which sometimes can be confronting, but it is worth it. The exposure to new situations and clients is fabulous!"
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Images of Chinchilla, the Melon Capital of Australia, taken by Rachel Brady-Jones.