AMY Gray has always been drawn to rural areas.
For the Gayndah speech pathologist, it offers more variety out of every day.
"If I were working in a bigger place, I might see just cancer patients, just adults or just children, but here I might see a two-year old client in the morning and a 102-year-old in the afternoon," she said.
Amy has become the first person in Queensland to complete a fast-tracked upskilling program aimed at helping rural health services recruit quality staff.
She works as part of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service's rural allied and community health team in Gayndah but sees clients across the North Burnett, Isis and Kolan regions.
She has just completed the two-year Allied Health Professional Rural Development Pathway to advance to the level of senior speech pathologist.
"The broad caseload I have here has helped to give me experience in a lot of different aspects of speech pathology," she said. "And I've really been welcomed into the community."
As part of the program, she said, "I've had access to fantastic mentors and a network of experts around the state I can draw on when I need advice in specialised areas."
Medical positions in rural areas are often hard to fill, and the Rural Development Pathway aims to give rural health services more options.
"If we're unable to recruit a senior position, we have the option to advertise for a specific Rural Development Pathway position instead," WBHHS rural allied and community health team leader Lisa Baker said.
"We can then appoint a qualified allied health professional at a more junior level, but use the salary gap to develop their skills to meet our local needs."
It was a win-win, she said.
"This means our community ends up with a highly qualified senior health professional, while for Amy it is a significant and intensive investment in her career."
While the extra work on top of her usual caseload has been a challenge, Amy said it had been worthwhile.
Four-year-old Marcus Elsaesser and his mum Natasha are very grateful to have her close by in Gayndah, where she has been helping Marcus with his pronunciation for the past 18 months.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.