Super experience in BH
Thursday, 21st February, 2019
By Callum Marshall
The GP Superclinic and four medical students on placement there have shown the value of coming out to Broken Hill for work experience.
Fourth year medical student from the University of Wollongong, Enyonam Glover, says she’s received some ‘excellent teaching’ already.
“I’ve been at the Superclinic since July last year and it’s been a really good experience,” said Enyonam.
“I came out with a group of girls who are all friends of mine, and we wanted to go somewhere where we got a very rural experience.
“We heard really good things about Broken Hill in terms of the culture and social scene, but also in terms of the sort of medicine that you get exposed to.
“I go to the Superclinic one day a week and I either sit in with a GP or I might sit in my own room and see patients before the GP sees them.
“I get to report back to them about what I found in the history and examination and suggest some management, and then I might have a discussion with the GP about what they think about what I found.
“They’ll either ask questions to get more out of me, make me think about alternatives I hadn’t thought about or sometimes I’ll say the correct management and receive encouragement.
“It’s been a really good learning experience and also a place where I’ve found my confidence in seeing patients has increased.”
For third year medical student at the University of Sydney, Lucie Robson, the warm welcome from everyone had helped her settle in.
“I’ve only been coming here for a few weeks but I’ve already found everyone here to be very welcoming, all the staff, doctors and patients,” she said.
“I always have a good time coming to GP because everyone’s friendly and really willing to help me learn, which I really appreciate.
“And I’ve already got to spend time with a few different GPs in my time here and I really appreciate being able to see people’s different styles of doing medicine.
Lucie said she was living in Sydney and “wanted to get as far away from the city as possible.
“I visited Broken Hill as a child during a family holiday once and I found it a fascinating place. Not just as a place to learn about rural medicine but as quite an interesting town in itself.”
The opportunities to get more experience than you would in the city was another attractive prospect, said fifth year student at the University of Adelaide, Bonny Miller.
“I’ve been in the Superclinic for just a few weeks and it’s been really good so far. It’s been great to get a combination of practical experience from observing the GPs as well as a little bit of theoretical learning,” she said.
“Doctor Maher has been really great, putting aside a bit of his own time to teach me and Enyonam some of the theoretical aspects of his work.
“I came to Broken Hill to experience rural culture and to have more empathy and understanding for patients who come from that background.
“And also for the hospital experience of getting more hands-on opportunities and a wider scope of medicine than I’d get to see in the city.”
Final year student at the University of Wollongong, Jessica Barnes, said coming to Broken Hill had exceeded her expectations.
“I’ve been at the clinic for six to seven months now and I’ve really enjoyed my time at the Superclinic,” she said.
“Every time you come in the staff are so welcoming and they always seem to be happy to see you.
“I’m originally from somewhere rural so I was really excited to go back to a rural town and Broken Hill really exceeded my expectations, even though they were already quite high.
“The community is so welcoming. You don’t know how people are going to react when it’s such a transient population but overall pretty much every experience we’ve had has been a positive one.”
GP Superclinic’s Doctor Funmi Komolafe said they always welcomed new medical students and the passion they brought with them.
“I think it’s always refreshing to have medical students around because everybody gets interested in the questions they ask and the richness that they bring to the team,” she said.
The University Department of Rural Health, which is part of University of Sydney, coordinates this program.
“We have about six to seven GPs who are medical student preceptors and they’re always very open to having the students on a weekly basis,” said Dr Komolafe.
“The feedback from the patients has been really positive and sometimes they’ll actually request to see the medical student because they’ve gotten used to having their follow up care in some cases.
“Part of the vision of the clinic is to participate fully in training the next generation of doctors as well.
“Hopefully get them to experience the rural culture, rural general practice and maybe even getting them coming back and settling in town.”
GP Registrar Andrew Harris said that just like visiting students, he’d like to see more locals get valuable training elsewhere and come back to the Hill for a career.
“I was born in Broken Hill, I went away to study medicine and I’ve come back and worked for the last four years in Broken Hill - two years at the hospital and the rest as a GP registrar at the Superclinic and at Maari Ma.
“We’re really passionate in Broken Hill to encourage people who are born locally, or have grown up or done their schooling here, to go away and do their medical training and come back and contribute to the work force here.
“We tend to see that people who are from Broken Hill and go away to train come back and establish families which allows the town to see some long term professionals here.
“One thing that’s discouraging for a lot of people in the community is seeing doctors come and go.
“So the thing that we want to try and push is for doctors and health staff to come and stay in broken Hill, to live here and set up a long term career.”