Communications & Media

Future doctors go rural to examine Tasmania’s health

First year medical students from the University of Tasmania swapped the capital city for regional areas last week, when they embarked on a rural learning week.

Between 11 – 15 September the 123 students experienced a Rural Week program, visiting locations across the North and North-West of the state to learn about health in rural communities.

The future doctors toured regional hospitals, applied medical knowledge and skills in simulated emergency scenarios, and reviewed occupational health and safety practices during local farm visits.

They also learned about cultural aspects of health during trips to Narawntapu National Park, aimed at providing them with insight into Tasmania’s Aboriginal heritage and its importance for the health of local Aboriginal people. 

Rural Clinical School Director Associate Professor Lizzi Shires said the Rural Week program was designed to provide first year students with rural insight, early in their medical journey.

“There are many rewarding aspects of working rurally and the program allows first year medical students to experience this while learning how health challenges in regional communities differ from those closer to major cities,” Associate Professor Shires said.

“Rural Week is about reinforcing the important partnerships between doctors and other health professionals which are crucial in providing the best patient care.

“It is an early opportunity for students to learn more about the north of the state and give them some idea about where they might like to complete their medical degree at the Launceston Clinical School, or Rural Clinical School in Burnie.”

Associate Professor Kim Rooney, Director of the Launceston Clinical School warmly welcomed the group.

"Rural week is a wonderful opportunity for first year medical students to see first-hand how health care is delivered in rural and regional Tasmania,” Associate Professor Rooney said.

"With the acknowledged need for all doctors to have generalist skills to address the complexity of our ever increasing chronic health care needs, the students visited regional educational and training facilities that showcase our strengths in these areas.

“During their visits, practising clinicians, University academics, doctors in training, and current students, all keen to share their personal knowledge and experience, also mentored them.”

Published on: 18 Sep 2017 9:03am