Students go rural Medical students go rural

Second year University of Tasmania medical students (from left) William Howcroft, Caitlin Byrne, Charlotte Bannink, Monisha Dhawan, Min Pei Chua, Ryan Rawnak, Maisen Lockyer and Wen Chew experience ‘Rural Week’ in Circular Head this week. Picture: Jodie Saville.

Program. Circular Head has this week welcomed eight university students as they embark on an experience to gain a better understanding of rural communities.

More than 120 medical students from the University of Tasmania have been placed in rural communities for an immersive program preparing them to become doctors.

Facilitated annually, Rural Week (April 3 to 7) allows medical students in their second year to experience living and working rurally, while learning how local health care services are accessed and delivered differently.

Through supervised clinical exposure with GPs and visits to hospitals, aged care providers, health hubs and local pharmacies, the students will gain an understanding of rural health conditions and also the health needs and priorities in rural communities.

They will also have met with the emergency services and council representatives to explore models and measures promoting healthy living, while participating in a number of industry tours to observe occupational health and safety practices.

Professor Ben Canny, head of the University’s School of Medicine, said prior to Rural Week students were assessed on research essays detailing information drawn from existing medical resources about their designated communities.

“Rural Week is critical to the education and training of our medical students, and important in helping shape their future careers,” Professor Canny said.

“The students gain an initial awareness of health issues in these rural communities through information they gather for their essays. This knowledge is then broadened during their placements so that afterwards they can have a better understanding of rural health care, services and social determinants of health within the community.

“Rural Week would not be possible without the assistance of many community organisations, and we must thank the rural healthcare providers, professionals, local councils, industry and community members for their generous support.”

Departing Hobart on Monday, the 124 students were divided into groups of four to 17 and placed across 19 rural communities. 

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