Medical students hit the ground running

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Medical students Karen Motta, Conor Monahan, Lucy Andrews, Emily Bouwhuis, Katherine Middleton, Francis Winfield, Katie Simson and Ali Halstrom.
Camera IconMedical students Karen Motta, Conor Monahan, Lucy Andrews, Emily Bouwhuis, Katherine Middleton, Francis Winfield, Katie Simson and Ali Halstrom. Credit: Picture: Jakeb Waddell, Jakeb Waddell.

Working at a rural hospital may seem like a daunting task for an up-and-coming doctor but a group of medical students completing their studies in Broome have stepped up to the challenge.

Eight students from the University of WA and Notre Dame Australia are completing their third or fourth years of study at Broome Regional Hospital this year, as part of the Rural Clinical School of WA integrated training program, aimed at retaining young doctors in the regions.

Lucy Andrews, Karen Motta, Conor Monahan, Emily Bouwhuis, Katherine Middleton, Francis Winfield, Katie Simson and Ali Halstrom began their practical training as first semester kicked off earlier this month and have wasted little time getting involved.

Ms Andrews, 29, said she even delivered a baby on her first day.

“You definitely get to see and do a lot more in regional places like Broome than what we would experience in Perth,” she said.

“We get a real hands-on experience that is really interesting for us, as was seen by my first day.”

RCSWA Kimberley medical co-ordinator Rebekah Ledingham said the ultimate aim of training students in the region was to increase the chances of them returning to work once qualified.

“Both urban and rural background graduates who have come to the RCSWA are five to 71/2 times more likely to work rural than those who haven’t and they are four times more likely to work remote,” she said.

“We know that if people make a home in a place, especially a place like Broome, they’re more likely to sign on once their studies are done.

“We offer good training in Broome. There are great doctors here, patients are open and help the students learn and they probably get a little more support because there’s not so many people to be trained.”

BRH senior medical officer Sue Phillips said the program developed students into potential doctors that could handle anything. “They are exposed to breadth and depth of the medicine and challenges here in the Kimberley and we find they are excited by it,” Dr Phillips said.

“The research shows if they are exposed to it they will want to come back.”

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