As I write it has been an exciting week, with new senior medical students commencing their year-long placement in various locations across the North Coast. The University of Wollongong (UOW), in collaboration with the University Centre for Rural Health North Coast (UCRH), has three regional training hubs, Murwillumbah, Lismore and Grafton. Each year, these hubs offer 20 extended clinical training opportunities that are highly contended amongst the University’s medical students.
“The word amongst my peers and classmates who have completed placement on the North Coast is that the educational opportunities are excellent. Staff are welcoming and so willing to teach, the clinical experiences so diverse,” said current UOW medical student Alexander Mills.
The UOW is committed to training doctors with the capacity and desire to work in regional, rural and remote communities and is the only medical program whose admission process specifically targets talented students from a rural/regional background.
Part of their program involves a year-long clinical placement where students spend time learning in general practice, community and hospital settings. This unique type of placement offers students an insight into what living and working as doctors in regional and rural areas might look like.
“They get to know the community and are able to add value as a team member within the medical workforce,'' said Regional Academic Leader for the University of Wollongong and senior medical officer in Grafton ED, Dr Alastair McInnes.
The beautiful location also helps. Medical student Harriet Raleigh said, “One thing that attracted me to complete my placement on the North Coast is the great work and lifestyle opportunities that the Clarence Valley offers”.
So if you happen to come across these medical students in general practice or the hospital, please make them feel welcome. We thank you for supporting them as they train to become future rural doctors who hopefully will return to our community one day.