Are you interested in spending more time in a rural location? The Extended Placement Program is a fantastic opportunity for students to spend an extended time in a rural area, enhance their knowledge of rural medicine and continue to develop their clinical skills. Previous EPP students have appreciated the opportunity to become part of a rural community and follow patients throughout the course of their illness.
The program involves Year 3 medical students undertaking their General Practice and Rural & Remote Medicine placements back to back in the same rural location.
Potential locations in 2020 include:
- St George
Quality accommodation and internet facilities will be made available and provided free of charge and a Medical Educator will be available to specifically support and assist you.
Students will be asked to submit an application based on the following criteria:
- Any previous experience living/working in a rural/remote area
- Whether you have membership and active involvement with TROHPIQ
- Any attendance/presentations at events or conferences of rural significance
- If you have undertaken electives in other years of the MBBS program in a rural/remote area
- If you are a current rural scholarship holder eg. MRBSS, RAMUS, John Flynn
- What you can contribute and what you hope to gain from undertaking a rural/remote extended placement
- Any other information which would demonstrate an interest, in and commitment to, health in rural/remote communities
Further information is also available via the UQ Website.
Past Student Experiences
Report by Yvonne Zhou, who completed her EPP in Roma 2017.
I was lucky enough to be placed in Roma for my EPP and it was such an awesome experience. The extended time in a small town really meant that I got to know the place and people very well. I ended up becoming good friends with the other junior doctors at the hospital, and we even took a weekend trip to Carnarvon Gorge together. All the doctors were super friendly and very eager to teach and include us in whatever they were doing. The most exciting thing I did was being able to join the Royal Flying Doctors Service and flying out to Emerald Hospital for the day. Whilst at Roma, I was able to attend both the GP clinic and hospital, which allowed me to brush up on history-taking and exams, as well as performing procedures such as cannulation and suturing. Being in a rural hospital, the community were very welcoming and happy to talk to students. I would definitely recommend participating in the EPP as it was an amazing and rewarding experience both in terms of learning medicine as well as integrating into a community.
Report by Duncan McGrouther, who completed the Extended Placement Program in Theodore.
I was definitely feeling slightly hesitant about spending 13 weeks six hours away from Brisbane in Theodore, a town of about 500 people, but it ended up easily being the highlight of my first clinical year. It really has so much to offer both in terms of learning experiences and cultural experiences in a part of the country I’d probably never have visited otherwise.
The EPP basically means completing both the GP and MIS rotations in the same town, which has so many advantages. Firstly, you get way more choice about where you want to go for rural. Theodore was my choice because of its great reputation and was small enough to get to know lots of people in a short space of time.
In terms of clinical experience it was fantastic. From pretty much day one Ashley and I were able to get involved with all of the areas of patient care that are managed locally, which, as you might expect, involves a lot. This included taking GP and emergency patient histories, taking bloods, inserting cannulas, giving vaccines, performing ECGs and spirometry, using ultrasound, antenatal visits, minor procedures and stitching, writing referrals and liaising with the RFDS regularly. For all of these we received plenty of advice and feedback.
You get to know a lot of the patients in a completely different way to the rotations in Brisbane because you are seeing almost all of them both inside and outside of the clinic, giving you a much better picture of who they are and their place in the community. Even though you would get to experience these things in the MIS rotation regardless, the extra seven weeks is really great for mastering those tasks and leaves you feeling far more competent.
Aside from the clinical side of things, it was great spending time in the town and getting to experience a really different lifestyle that isn’t all that far away. Everything was much more personal – our orientation was dinner at our preceptor’s house who then drove us around the whole town (took about 10 minutes). And even though lots of hours were spent in the clinic, the registrar was more than happy to compensate by funding bi or tri-weekly trips to the pub.
There are plenty of big characters in Theodore and lots of them are pretty keen to meet new people and showcase what’s great about living rurally.
A few of the highlights would include mustering cattle, joyflights over the town, going underground in the nearby goldmine, heaps of camping and 4 wheel driving around the area and Fred Brophy’s boxing tent – a 6 week MIS rotation would not have been long enough to experience all of them!
EPP for me was a great chance to improve my clinical skills and has definitely made me consider being a rural GP in the future.
– Duncan McGrouther, EPP Theodore 2015
Featured photograph by Laura Frederiksen.