NEW EXPERIENCE: Dr Farhan Masud enjoyed his stint at Theodore Hospital.
NEW EXPERIENCE: Dr Farhan Masud enjoyed his stint at Theodore Hospital. Contributed

Doctor's eye-opening experience in rural CQ town

CQ HEALTH has two intern placements in a new program inspiring more doctors to become rural general practitioners.

Queensland Country Practice successfully received funding from the Federal Government to offer community-based placements to junior doctors in six rural areas across Queensland.

Doctor Farhan Masud was one of the first interns to take part in the program.

For five weeks, he lived and worked in Theodore, his first experience in a small town.

"I didn't know what a 'Theodore' was,” he said when he learned of his pending placement.

"When I looked it up I found it was a town of 452 people.

"I was shocked at first; I'd never even been to a town that small let alone practised medicine in one, but it was surprising how many patients you see because it's quite a big catchment area.”

Dr Masud worked in Theodore Medical Centre and the hospital, and he loved the set-up.

"Dr (Bruce) Chater would see the patients and review my plans, and any patients during the day that had to be admitted to hospital I would do those admissions,” he said.

"I got to do quite a few procedures, that was quite a big deal because even though it's a small town the surrounding area is populated by people who work tough jobs in mines, farms and mills and there are quite are a lot of people with injuries who come to the medical centre.

"Bruce's philosophy is 'see one, do one, teach one', and there was a lot to do.

"Overall I had a great experience. I learnt new things about rural medicine and saw how patients had to be treated differently.”

Ordinarily, interns experience life as a rural GP later in their career but this program introduces the experience earlier in their career paths.

Queensland Rural Medical Services executive director Dr Hwee Sin Chong said this early exposure could influence the career paths of junior doctors and address the nation-wide problem of recruiting suitably qualified medical officers in rural and remote areas.

"The program is funded by the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund and is aimed at whetting the appetite of our post-graduate, year one interns,” Dr Chong said.

"Referred to as 'iDocs', these junior doctors are exposed to working and living in a rural community during the early stages of their careers with the hope that the experience will stimulate an interest in rural general practice as a career path.

"While on rotation, doctors also have access to a series of online modules, specifically developed by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine for junior doctors, so they are supported to practice safely and competently,” Dr Chong said.

Another four interns are scheduled to be rotated through Theodore this year as part of the program. Emerald Medical Group is also participating in the new program.



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