Thirty Year 1 medical students from The University of Queensland embarked on a four-day immersion tour last weekend to experience the charm and challenges of rural and remote living.
Childers and Kingaroy welcomed fifteen students each, visiting local industries, schools, medical centres and hospitals to gain an understanding of the regions medical capacity.
The students also participated in community activities to experience the local spirit and connect with people through the homestay experience.
The inaugural Immersion Program is part of the new Doctor of Medicine curriculum, which gives 100 Year 1 students an opportunity to learn outside of the classroom and integrate into one of eight rural and remote communities in the Central Queensland, Wide Bay Burnett, Darling Downs and South West regions.
Medical careers go rural
Mayne Academy of Rural and Remote Medicine Head Professor Bruce Chater OAM said the upcoming Year 1 immersion would be an exciting, and possibly lifechanging, experience.
“This experience is about making rural medical careers visible to our students and creating engaging opportunities that spark feelings of belonging,” he said.
“We hope that the students see the charms and challenges for our communities and consider staying to practice rural and remote medicine in their future.
“The communities have been incredibly supportive, not only in helping arrange some fantastic tours and activities, but also in opening their homes for students to partake in homestays.”
Rural Clinical School Acting Director Dr Doogie Whitcombe said this is a wonderful opportunity for students to start building relationships.
“These students will return to the region in 2024 to commence the final three years of their Doctor of Medicine studies as part of the Regional Medical Pathway,” Dr Whitcombe said.
The RMP is a partnership between UQ, CQUniversity, and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services, working towards improved health outcomes for Central Queensland and Wide Bay Regions through the provision of an integrated end-to-end training pathway for regional, rural and remote doctors.
Research shows that early introduction to rural medicine and repeat exposure to rural placements positively influences a student’s intention to enter the rural workforce.