A country practice starts for students

University of Wollongong Medical students Laura Sunderland, Brad Spackman and Charne Quayle will spend the next 12 months at the Forbes Medical Centre.

University of Wollongong Medical students Laura Sunderland, Brad Spackman and Charne Quayle will spend the next 12 months at the Forbes Medical Centre.

University of Wollongong Medical students Laura Sunderland, Brad Spackman and Charne Quayle commenced a 12 month placement examining a country practice at the Forbes Medical Centre this week.

“Basically, we hope to learn how the rural hospital system and medicine works,” Mr Spackman, who is originally from Harden, said of their expectations for the next 12 months.

The students spent the early part of this week in orientation at the medical centre and sitting in with doctors at the centre as they assessed patients.

“This is the fourth year of our agreement with the University of Wollogong,” Dr Neale Somes said of the placements.

“The university has made a strong commitment to the Forbes Medical Centre and the community both in terms of placing their students with us and investing in our practice so that we can continue to train the doctors of the future.”

During their placement in Forbes the students will spend time learning about general practice and working in the emergency department at the Forbes Hospital.  

They will also undertake placements in the community and with allied health professionals and visiting specialists.

“In the city medicine can be very specialised but here the students are exposed to general medicine, from the cradle to the grave, from obstetrics to palliative care and everything in between” said Dr Somes.  

Dr Somes is hopeful that after spending a year in Forbes, the UOW students will be more likely to return to the country to work.

All three students said they have a leaning towards GP positions at present but added their experiences over the next 12 months would shape the direction they took in the future.

Ms Sunderland, who is from Wollongong said she is also interested in obestrics.

“I have no idea at the moment but General Practice is what I’m interested in so this year will be good,” Ms Quayle who is from Brisbane said.

“I’m optimistic that exposing students to the life of a rural generalist means they will be more likely to come back to the country to practice,” Dr Somes said said.