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Developing a rural health workforce

Developing a rural health workforce
University of Queensland medical students at the Bundaberg Rural Clinical School. Photo: University of Queensland.

A career in rural health workforce offers unique opportunities and experiences and the chance to build lasting relationships with patients. 

The classrooms at The University of Queensland’s Rural Clinical School are the public and private hospitals, specialist consulting rooms, general practices and community healthcare settings throughout rural Queensland, with teachers who are dedicated and passionate rural clinicians.

Rural Clinical School Director Associate Professor Riitta Partanen discussed the importance of attracting medical students to rural communities.   

“We know from the research, that early introduction to rural and remote medicine and repeat exposure through placements in rural communities positively influences a student’s intention to enter the rural and remote workforce, which ultimately is our end goal” she said.

Bundaberg medical student Katerina said a two-week placement in the Bundaberg ED in her first year of medicine enticed her to return to Bundaberg for her final years of studies.

“I think that being in a rural/regional centre as a student helps you become more confident in your skills and sets you up really well to be a good junior doctor,” Katerina said.

“Working in a smaller hospital, you get lots of hands-on learning and experience.

“Going rural was the best decision I have ever made.

“I cannot stress enough how many opportunities arise in regional and rural areas and the connections you make with colleagues and with the members of the community are indelible.

“Even as a medical student, you are made to feel like an invaluable member of the team.” 

More information about UQ's rural health workforce can be found here.