Explore some of NSW’s most beautiful communities while gaining interdisciplinary skills and networks, and hands-on occupational therapy experience. You can choose to undertake multi-week rural placements within our NSW geographical footprint or go rural for your final year in Tamworth, Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie.
You will have opportunities to participate in a range of community activities, such as teddy bear hospitals that help primary-school children learn about healthcare. You’ll also gain access to individualised study and career support, like exclusive job webinars and more. Get a competitive edge on your OT resume—and have fun doing it!
Doing a rural placement is an opportunity to have a college-like experience and build relationships with other students. My favourite day was our first interprofessional learning activity where I learned more about all the health disciplines that I’ll work with as an OT graduate."
Ellen, Occupational Therapy
Top reasons occupational therapy students choose rural:
- 4th Year Rural Immersion Program
- Community engagement and interprofessional activities
- Individualised study and career support
- Subsidised student accommodation*
4th Year Rural Immersion Program
All University of Newcastle OT students are required to complete one ten-week placement block during their final year. Our rural immersion program lets you undertake your placement while based in Tamworth, Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie. When you’re not on placement, you’ll continue to complete your normal coursework from your rural location. Our students have access to on-site academic support, subsidised accommodation, and interprofessional learning and community engagement activities.
Learn from the best
Our teaching and research staff have supported occupational therapy students since 2002 across the New England, North West and Lower Mid North Coast regions of NSW. You’ll be learning from the experienced and passionate occupational therapy practitioners, many who have a deep understanding of rural healthcare and are proficient with supporting student learning.
Some of our occupational therapy placement sites are listed below. In addition to these, we offer service learning placements in schools and in a community mental health organisation.
- Manning Base Hospital (acute inpatients)
- Taree Aged Care and Rehabilitation Services (community adult service)
- Port Macquarie Base Hospital (outpatient, acute patients, community OT for paediatrics, adult and mental health)
- Bellingen Hospital
- Coffs Harbour Base Hospital
- Armidale Mental Health Services
- Armidale Hospital and community services
- Tamworth Hospital
- Tamworth Community Health (adult and paediatric)
- Tamworth Mental Health Services
- New England Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service
- Non- health sites in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Tamworth
How to apply
Rural placement block: University of Newcastle students must nominate their desired placement locations through the placement portal, “SONIA”. (Note: each university has its own placement portal. If you are studying at another university, please consult your university for more information)
4th Year Rural Immersion Program: Email UONDRH-OT@newcastle.edu.au to complete an online expression of interest form, then follow the instructions from the academic.
Once you have your placement (year-long or block), you will need to register with us via our placement portal to access community and accommodation support.
Mrs Rebecca Wolfgang
Phone: + 61 2 6755 3500
Mrs Katrina Wakely
Phone: +61 2 6755 3500
Ms Alina Roper
Phone: +61 2 6773 0170
Mrs Ricky Pomroy
Phone: +61 2 4055 3444
Mrs Nicole Killey
Phone: +61 2 4055 1964
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.