City nabs training docs
Monday, 22nd July, 2013
Four medical students will spend the next year in the city as part of their training at the University of Wollongong.
They will work with doctors at Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Service, Nachiappan Medical Centre and Outback Family Practice, Broken Hill Base Hospital and other local health services.
The year-long clinical placement program - which started this week - is a key component of the university’s medical curriculum, which has been designed with a strong focus on preparing doctors to practise in country settings.
The university’s Graduate School of Medicine (GSM) was established with the primary aim of helping to address the critical shortage of medical practitioners outside the major cities, and actively recruits students who have rural backgrounds.
It is the only medical school in Australia that provides opportunities for all its students to undertake a 12-month clinical placement in a rural or regional setting.
Associate Professor David Garne, who oversees the clinical placements program, said the best way to encourage young doctors to practise medicine in the bush after they graduate was to introduce them to life in a country town as students.
Professor Garne joined the university after helping establish its clinical program in Broken Hill where he was working as a doctor with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“Living and working in a rural environment can be very rewarding personally and professionally, and that’s the message we try to get across to our medical students,” he said.
“For a start, they will have more opportunities to undertake procedural medicine - obstetrics, anaesthetics, some surgical procedures - than if they did their clinical training in the city.
“The whole idea is to immerse our students in a regional or rural community for 38 weeks and help them make their career choices after that.
“Whether they want to be a GP or to specialise, hopefully they will have an underlying desire to work in a regional or rural setting.”