Medical students choose Karratha to ‘advance their career’
The latest cohort of medical students from University of Western Australia has arrived in Karratha to spend their fifth year of studies working in the area.
The Rural Clinical School is a combined satellite medical school of the University of Western Australia and Notre Dame.
Students in their penultimate year of medical training spend a full year in the country in order to experience the practice of rural medicine, and thus encourage them to pursue a career in rural medicine.
Karratha is one of 13 sites scattered across the state from Esperance to Kununurra where this program operates.
The program is now in its twelfth year and evidence shows that positive clinical training experiences in rural settings encourage students to consider a rural career once fully qualified.
The Karratha school has been operating since 2006.
Due to the growth of the town, the success of the school locally and the increased number of applications from prospective students, Karratha will now be increased to a medium-sized site of five students.
The five students for 2013 are Paige Bavich, Ibrahim Fleyfel, Emily Jasper, Peter Kenner and Andres Noe.
Throughout the year, the students will be exposed to clinical situations at Nickol Bay Hospital and Aboriginal Medical Services in Roebourne.
Des Taverner, Associate Professor for the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia said students who spent their final year at Karratha get better results in exams than they would have if they had studied
“It’s more of a whole experience, it’s really integrated,” said Ms Taverner.
“Here they are really challenged.”
Paige Bavich, Ibrahim Fleyfel, Emily Jasper, Peter Kenner and Andres Noe will spend their working time at Nickol Bay Hospital, Kinetic health, Karratha Medical Centre and Wickham Medical Centre and the Aboriginal Medical Service in Roebourne.
The students will also travel with Karratha doctors to Onslow to offer outreach at the local medical clinic for a day at a time.
Ms Taverner said the student’s experience in Karratha is not just about what they learn medically.
“It’s also about learning what it’s like to be a real rural doctor and we want them to really be involved in the community,”
As Karratha has a high birth rate, with Nickol Bay Hospital looking after around 500 pregnancies per year, the students will be focussing on obstetrics and gynaecology
This week the students will help with their first delivery of a baby.
Although nervous, the students agree a deep focus on obstetrics in their fifth year of curriculum is exciting.
“It’s something we haven’t really had any experience with so we’re very excited,”
“Karratha is such a young town and that’s one of the awesome opportunities that we have in choosing Karratha,” said Emily.
“There is a young population with lots of births, so it’s a really dynamic environment.”
Peter said he hopes the year will bring a cultural emergence to his studies.
“I’m excited to work as a medical practitioner in the country and learn the kind of skills we can use as doctors in the future, wherever we are,”
“It’s about gaining everything I can this year.”
Andres said there are many advantages to studying in a remote location, rather than in the city.
“The opportunities for development at a rural site like this is that you get much more one-to-one training,” he said.
“It’s much more hands on.”
Ibrahim added, “We contribute quite a lot more to the community in a rural place, as opposed to the city”.
“It helps both us as students in learning, and the community as well in that we are able to give back as opposed to just observing.”
Andres agreed, adding the cultural studies are another drawcard.
“The opportunities in Aboriginal health are outstanding [in this area] and we’ll be heavily involved in that,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for all of us to really expand on something that is not directly taught as well as it could be.”