A good dose of rural life

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Manjimup doctor Paul Griffiths and Bridgetown doctor Sarah Youngson, far right, welcome student doctors Santooshi Burju, Chloe Brown, Tayla Read and Mary Burke.Picture: Tari Jeffers
Camera IconManjimup doctor Paul Griffiths and Bridgetown doctor Sarah Youngson, far right, welcome student doctors Santooshi Burju, Chloe Brown, Tayla Read and Mary Burke.Picture: Tari Jeffers Credit: Tari Jeffers/Tari Jeffers

Touting the benefits of working rural is just one of the benefits of the region’s inaugural participation in educating medical students.

Through the Rural Clinical School WA program, four medical students — two from University of Western Australia and two from Curtin University — will get on-the-job training as doctors.

Participating teaching doctors in the region include Bridgetown’s Dr Sarah Youngson, who was also part of the program’s interview process, and Manjimup doctor Paul Griffiths.

Chloe Brown and Tayla Read have come from UWA and Santooshi Burju and Mary Burke have come from Curtin.

In the week and a half since the students started, they are already being won over by country life. “For Chloe and I at UWA, we’ve already had a year of prac, so this is our second year but this is already so much better,” Miss Read said.

“Everyone seems so much friendlier than the city and the doctors are very different in the city, than they are here.”

Miss Brown said, having met all the doctors already, they had been incredibly kind to her and the other medical students.

“They are already so excited to teach us, for example we said we wanted more experience in suturing, so Sarah said we’d get some pork bellies to practice with,” she said. “Whereas in the city, you’re very much left to fend for yourself.”

Miss Burke said the doctors in the region had been receptive to providing then with the opportunity to learn. “The doctors have our numbers, so we’ve asked them to call us if anything interesting comes up because we’re really eager to learn,” she said. “In the city, unless you’re there, you don’t really have any communication with the doctor.”

Miss Burju she had been looking forward to the move to the region since she found out she had been successful almost six months ago.

“We had heard about RCS in our first year and ever since then I’ve wanted to get in,” she said.

“I’m from Sydney, so the move to Perth was already a change, so to be here, where it’s even smaller, I can’t wait to get comfortable with it and have as much experience as possible,” she said.

All four of the students said they were looking forward to more experience in obstetrics and the emergency department.

Dr Youngson said even if the students did not end up becoming rural doctors, there was a benefit in having specialists who appreciate rural doctors’ work and community health.

Dr Griffiths said one thing the students would be learning as well, was the importance of being seen in and being engaged with the community.

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