Real-life training opportunities in rural areas are something the Western Sydney School of Medicine takes pride in, with their Rural Clinical School in Bathurst recently celebrating 10 years of education.
The program was developed for students who are interested in practising in rural areas, focusing on broadening their experience by encouraging them to really get involved in the community.
“A lot of different ways of training rurally has been tried over the years,” Western Sydney School of Medicine Dean Professor Annemarie Hennessy said.
“The model we adopted 10 years ago was a long-stay model, so they’re there for 12 months.
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“It allows them to become part of the community rather than just leaving home for six weeks.”
Professor Hennessy feels that having different options available for their students is important because every student will have a different experience.
“Choice matters and if we only do one model we’ll lose some students,” she said.
Every situation is different and experiences often vary from rural areas to the city, for example managing an emergency when there’s black ice on the road is something more likely to happen in rural areas, Professor Hennessy said.
“We want them to experience what it’s like to deal with conditions that they wouldn’t normally see in town, things like heavy machinery injuries or the mouse plague,” Professor Hennessy said.
Wanting their students to reach a high standard of professionalism as well as develop an excellent understanding of what the community needs are both elements key to the university’s program.
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