Med class goes rural

| posted on February 8, 2021

MEDICAL students from around the state are gear- ing up to begin a year of study at the Rural Clinical School of WA’s (RCSWA) site in Albany.

Through the RCSWA’s program, a mix of penultimate and final year students from Curtin, Notre Dame and the University of Western Australia are selected to spend a year of study at one of 15 rural town sites.

The Albany site has taken in 12 penultimate year students, who are all looking forward to the opportunity to learn about and experience rural medical practices first-hand, away from the big smoke.

Medical Coordinator with the Rural Clinical School in Albany, Brian Cunningham, said the program aims for students to return to rural towns after they graduate.

“The Rural Clinical School is a fantastic opportunity to get a look at rural medicine as we are very much in the business of creating and evolving training positions with the end game of more rural doctors,” he said.

“The access to patients across the hospital and working in smaller teams with one-on-one supervision is a key strength of ours.

“There are already students who have done two years in Albany at the RCSWA who are now first year doctors in the hospital. That’s just a small step in building a genuine rural training pathway.”

Kate Dowden is a third- year post-graduate student at UWA who is originally from Mount Magnet but moved to the city to study medicine.

Ms Dowden said she’s looking forward to the more hands-on approach made possible while training in the region.

“I’ m really excited to learn from some of the amazing physicians here and learn a little bit about rural general practice and get a taste of rural medicine,” she said.

“When we’re in Perth we’re usually in big teams of 5-6 students, here we are rostered one student per team.

“There’s going to be much more of an opportunity to get involved and to have a bit more practical experience, it’ll be awesome.”

After coming all the way from Sydney to study medicine at Notre Dame in Fremantle, Jim Berry said he’s excited to now be training in Albany.

“I think like everyone else I want to catch a baby as well,” he said.

Originally from Melbourne, fourth-year undergraduate student from Curtin University Bharadwaja Cherukuri said he is eager for both the medical experience he will gain, but also the social side of the program.

“I really excited for this year to be making friends and get to know the Great Southern a bit more and hopefully observe some more surgeries in theatre as well, they’re very interesting,” he said.

Mr Cunningham said the students will rotate through different placements throughout hospitals and community services.

“They have a one-month placement in general practice. The GP’s across the Great Southern have been highly supportive of the RCSWA’s experience for many years,” he said.

“The students also go through general medicine, the emergency department, general surgery, gynaecology and psychiatry.”