Hedland is what awesome looks like!
Five medical students who arrived in Port Hedland in January to complete their fifth year studies with the Rural Clinical School of WA (RCSWA) have finished the year on academic and personal highs, vowing to return to the bush as doctors.
Their clinical experiences included Hedland Health Campus, Kinetic Health and Wirraka Maya Aboriginal Health Service, travelling with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and attending clinics in Newman, Jigalong, Cotton Creek, Punmu, Nullagine and Marble Bar.
Medical Coordinator Dr Rob Whitehead, with the assistance of paediatrician Anita Banks, was responsible for their learning and he was very impressed with the calibre of the group.
“What an amazing year we’ve had; these students have certainly owned the stage,” Dr Whitehead said.
The program, run through The University of Western Australia and The University of Notre Dame, aims to show soon-to-be doctors the benefits of working in rural areas in the hope they will one day return and, for RCSWA’s 2011 Hedland cohort, the year has far outweighed their expectations.
Ms Nicole Villanueva called the year a standout, saying that it was far more than she ever dreamed and the teaching gave her confidence to believe she could be a good doctor.
“The clinical experience, the hospital, has been fantastic and Rob’s teaching has absolutely blown me away,” she said.
“I don’t know how one person could be so good at making really hard concepts of medicine not only simplified but really enjoyable.”
“Tutorials in the pool, tutorials in Karijini [gorges], tutorials at the beach, they were pretty amazing,” student colleague Karim Johnston said whilst partner and fellow student Bernadette Williams simply called the teaching incredible.
Student Susan Lane was amazed that at the hospital they could not only become so closely involved with the medical teams but with the families of patients and Bernadette Bailey called it her best year of medicine ever.
She thought all the “cool” cases would be in Perth but discovered that up here you can see all sorts of cases.
“It’s changed my view to see that rural practice is actually better than city,” Ms Bailey said.
Among their glowing feedback, Ms Williams summed up everyone’s experience of Hedland with their group mantra, “This is what awesome looks like!”
Dr Whitehead thanked the many physicians who have given up their time throughout the year to help teach these doctors of the future.