Medical students working in the Clarence Valley, from left, Wilson Petrushnko, Ivan Chau, James Jewell and Charles Fish.
Medical students working in the Clarence Valley, from left, Wilson Petrushnko, Ivan Chau, James Jewell and Charles Fish. JoJo Newby

Valley impresses four med students

IT'S not just the new facilities at Grafton Base Hospital impressing four medical students.

All say there is plenty to love about the area, including wonderful local people and plentiful offshore fishing.

The students, from the University of Wollongong's Graduate School of Medicine, are two months into a 12-month clinical placement in the Valley.

Each of the four students spends two days a week in a clinic under the supervision of a general practitioner, an academic day at the hospital, a day in the emergency department and another with a medical specialist at the hospital.

The initiative, now in its fourth year, is aimed at alleviating the shortage of doctors in regional, rural and remote Australia by exposing students to long stays outside Australia's big cities.

"Our hope is, if students have a positive experience living and training in the Clarence Valley, many will return to the region to practise medicine in the future," said regional academic leader Dr Alastair McInnes.

Dr McInnes said the program's 14 previous medical students had all done well in their final exams, held at the end of the tenure.

Although no graduates from the program had yet returned to Grafton, Dr McInnes said he was confident many would work in regional areas and over time, some would come back to the Valley.

For example, former rural scholarship student Dr Jenn Williams, has been back to Grafton as a locum on several occasions since gaining her qualifications almost eight years ago.

The extended community-based clinical placement program is supported by the University of Wollongong and the Department of Health and Ageing.

 

Future medicos

2012 med students, GP base and interests

Wilson Petrushnko: Clarence Medical Centre, Maclean, offshore fishing (especially near Sandon)

Ivan Chau: Grafton Superclinic, soccer and Anglican church

James Jewell: Grafton Superclinic, lovely people and impressive facilities

Charles Fish: Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Centre, Aussie Rules (Grafton Tigers fan)



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