CQ hospitals helping keep talented doctors in rural areas
TWO of Rockhampton's newest doctors are keen to keep working in regional and rural areas and hope their interships in Central Queensland will guide them along the way.
James Cook University (JCU) medical graduates and Rockhampton locals Dr Meg Williamson and Dr Ronelle Andrew are part of the fresh intern intake at Rockhampton Hospital.
The pair completed their six-year degrees last year and will hone their skills over the next 12 months.
Dr Williamson will start off in Gladstone's emergency department before returning to Rockhampton for a few rotations.
"I get to go through the paediatric department," Dr Williamson said.
"So basically I'll be doing lots of paperwork but I get to do some clinical skills and lots of learning as well.
"I'm on the rural generalist pathway at the moment so I do want to hopefully work in rural communities."
Dr Andrew is planning to stay in Rockhampton for the next few years after her internship.
"I'll dip my toes in the water this year and get as many experiences under my belt as I can and see where I go from there," Dr Andrew said.
"We all spur each other along and we all help each other out.
"It's going to be a good year by the looks of it."
Interns are in high demand in Central Queensland hospitals, with the intake number increasing by two since last year.
The year-long internship consists of various 10 to 12 week periods with basic medicine, basic surgery and work in the emergency department.
Interns then take an elective and move on to another facility to undertake training in a specialist area.
Deputy executive director of medical services Dr Ross Duncan said Central Queensland hospitals will be taking 36 interns this year.
"They will primarily be in the major hospitals like Rockhampton Hospital, but also they will have experiences out in Emerald, Gladstone and several other general practices and we also have one who will be going out to Yeppoon," Dr Duncan said.
"The requirements of the Medical Board of Australia is that to be registered after internship, you have to have done those mandatory periods of training.
"There is a very extensive process of review throughout that program and they have staff here that do that and each intern will be assessed during each of the 10 weeks and the medical board requires that they pass those.
"So they can be formally registered at the end of that period and the medical board can say 'this is a well- trained young doctor and we're prepared to release them into the community'."
Dr Duncan said working in a regional centre provided interns with community involvement and hands-on experience.
"They get probably
better supervision,because it's not quite as crowded," he said. "But also they see life in a regional area and realise that the community in regional areas needs very good health care.
"Their experiences here will influence the choices they make.
"We want them to have a life-changing experience and to learn a lot.
"Also to be very capable with their hands and to develop the ethics and the care for patients, which is so important," he added.