Medical student Natalie Klees broadens her understanding of health-related issues with Senior Constable Bernadette Snow at the Love Bites Program.
Medical student Natalie Klees broadens her understanding of health-related issues with Senior Constable Bernadette Snow at the Love Bites Program.

Med students find local placements

LOCAL businesses, community groups and the University of NSW Rural Clinical School have come together to offer practical placements to rural medical students.

The Year 4 medical students are currently studying the Society and Health component of their course, which is broken into eight weeks of study based on screening and prevention, drugs and violence, mental health and wellbeing, environmental health, evidence-based public health, cross-cultural and indigenous health, occupational health and global health.

During this term, students are placed with community groups, public health departments of the hospital, and with local allied health businesses.

The UNSW’s Karen Jackson is grateful to all the groups accommodating students.

“In a city the size of Coffs Harbour with only one public hospital it is often difficult to find the number of appropriate placements for the number of medical students who have to take part in these elective placements, and the generous community spirit of Coffs Harbour comes into play,” she said.

“Not only do the busy hospital departments open their doors to take the students and teach them but local businesses also put up their hand to take the students and teach them in their practices.”

Local community groups such as The Men’s Shed, Dads in Distress, Early Childhood Intervention, Burnside Family Care, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous get students on board to participate in activities and learn about the different issues affecting the health and well- being of the community.

Other health groups involved include Galambila Aboriginal Medical Service, Child Health Care Clinics, Coffs Harbour Ambulance Station, Love Bites program, Coffs Harbour Local Court, Grafton Correctional Centre, and Bluewater Medical.

The first week of these placements has just been completed and the students will be going out on their second week very soon.

“The Rural Clinical School Coffs Harbour is committed to playing a leading role in the education of medical students in rural Australia to produce more rural doctors, and the help of all these local groups makes the education of these students possible,” Ms Jackson said.

“The students are also very grateful to the community groups, hospital departments, allied health and local businesses for supporting them in their education.”



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