Q&A with our Rural Medical Students

26 September 2018

July is the nerve-racking time of year when final year Medical students await their offers for a Medical Internship. These are the stories of some of our amazing students who are embarking on their next adventure as a rural doctor.

Madeline Thomson

Where have you chosen to do your internship? Why?

Rockhampton Base Hospital as part of the QLD rural generalist pathway. This pathway allows me to have preference for rotations, permitting me to undertake those required/suggested for GP training. Bonuses: I lived near Rockhampton as a kid so know the area, and the town is large enough that my partner will be able to move up and find work as a carpenter.

Are there particular areas that you would like exposure to during your pre-vocational training?

I am keen to do my internship emergency term and PGY2 anaesthetics term so I can decide which one of these I would like to have as an advanced skill with my generalist training.

What are you looking forward to most about doing a rural internship?

I’m looking forward getting to know the other 35 interns and living in a town which is on a river, close to the bush and the beach!

Has anything influenced your direction so far (eg. Family, an experience, your skills)?

I grew up in a regional town, Mt Gambier SA, and worked on farms before uni. I really enjoy the rural lifestyle. I also loved my 3rd year of med in a rural town, Young NSW. I saw the GPs working as VMOs in the local hospital, consulting with interesting patients in the practice and having close relationships with the town’s allied health professionals. This year really cemented my wish to become a rural generalist.

If the HUB could improve your ability in some way to become a Rural Doctor what would it be?

The hub has already helped me by supplying information about rural internships and generalist training. If I didn’t get the QLD job, I knew there were options in NSW and SA for me, so it made the process much less stressful! Info on training pathways has been handy and will be useful later on in more detail.

John Ryan

Where have you chosen to do your internship? Why?

I applied for the Queensland Rural Generalist Internship program in March of this year (2018) and received an offer of position for Toowoomba Hospital in April. I made the decision to move interstate for my training as a number of clinicians have recommended the QLD rural generalist training program during my rural year in Cowra when I expressed interest in becoming a Rural Generalist.

Are there particular areas that you would like exposure to during your pre-vocational training?

It would be nice to have exposure to all of the advanced skills/sub-specialties available for rural generalists. I was fortunate in Cowra to spend lots of quality time with the GP anaesthetists, obstetricians and emergency doctors, but a taste of the other rural generalist specialities such as psychiatry, paediatrics, internal medicine would be rewarding too.

What are you looking forward to most about doing a rural internship?

I'm looking forward to living in the country again after spending 4th year back in the city. I won't know anyone up in Toowoomba so I'll have to make new friendships and become part of the community, which I find easier to do in the country. I'm excited to finally use the knowledge and skills I have learned through medical school and to begin my career as a rural generalist.

Have you decided on a specialty for vocational training? If so, which one?

I really loved my time in Cowra with the GP Anaesthetists, Dr Date, Dr Richmond and Dr Davidson. I could definitely see myself doing anaesthetics as my advanced skill.

If the HUB could improve your ability in some way to become a Rural Doctor what would it be?

I really appreciate the support I received from Kathryn Stonestreet in providing information into the pathways available and my application for internships. I am so thankful too to Dr Baker and Dr Date for their references as part of my application. I could not have received my offer without their help and support.

Rachel Bretland

Where have you chosen to do your internship? Why?

I am doing my internship at Maitland Hospital through the Rural Preferential Recruitment pathway. There are a lot of great reasons to do a rural internship. I am excited to work at a friendly hospital with around 20 interns, but a hospital close enough to a major centre (John Hunter Hospital is around 30mins away) that I can still access learning in specialised areas when I need to. I feel that it will in many ways be similar to my rotations spent at Queanbeyan hospital, which I have really enjoyed. I think that the Hunter Valley’s diverse range of mining, agricultural, and tourist industries will provide an interesting variety of patients. It also appeals to me that RPR interns get prioritised access to rotations with a known home hospital which will give me greater control and will hopefully facilitate my future career.

Are there particular areas that you would like exposure to during your pre-vocational training?

I am hoping that by doing a regional internship, I get to see a variety of different areas of medicine. I would like to get some exposure to emergency medicine in the rural setting during my pre-vocational years. In the future, I would like to do some work in remote areas of Central Australia and I know that to safely achieve that I need to be proficient at the basics of stabilising a patient and caring for them until I can get assistance and until they can get to a tertiary centre for care.

What are you looking forward to most about doing a rural internship?

For me it makes a massive difference to my quality of life to have friendly work colleagues who all know each other and stable teams. While it’s nice to get a smile and hello in the corridor, I also think that when the consultants and registrars know who you are they are more likely to help you extend your skills and teach you new things.

Have you decided on a specialty for vocational training? If so, which one?

I really like O&G so I am looking to further my knowledge in this area either as a specialty through the College or via the Rural Generalist Pathway as a GP Obstetrician.

Has anything influenced your direction to train rurally (eg. Family, an experience, your skills)?

All of those things! Scott and I have spent most of our lives in regional parts of Australia. We met in Tamworth and although that town will always be very special to us we have also enjoyed living in Toowoomba, Townsville and now outside of Queanbeyan. When we moved to Canberra we initially lived in the Inner South but we found that we were miserable living in a tiny townhouse so we moved. Since moving to our 10 acre home outside Queanbeyan we have been calmer, happier and I love seeing my 3 year old son Alistair play at our dam and in our trees. I chose Maitland because it is a beautiful area of Australia, it will bring us closer to family as well as to facilitate Scott taking up his dream flying job at the nearby Lake Macquarie airport.

If the HUB could improve your ability in some way to become a Rural Doctor what would it be?

I am very appreciative of the Rural Hubs assistance in applying for internship and help with interview preparation and advice. I really think it made a quantitative difference to help me be a successful applicant. Looking back, I would have liked the opportunity to attend one of the rural medicine conferences and it would be great if in the future the Rural Hub could help to facilitate students to attend these events.