Jacqui Chin, Sophie Olufson, Makesh Gounden and Thomas Thurecht watch 'patient' Thomas Wong get a cast on
Jacqui Chin, Sophie Olufson, Makesh Gounden and Thomas Thurecht watch 'patient' Thomas Wong get a cast on Jann Houley

UQ students's back home to pursue rural doctor training

THOMAS Thurecht has come full circle as he starts a year with University of Queensland 's Rural Medical School in Rockhampton.

"I actually did work experience here in this very building in Years 11 and 12," he said.

"We were shown how to apply plaster casts which is what we're doing again today so this is all a bit nostalgic."

Mr Thurecht, who graduated from RGS in 2013, didn't get the OP score he needed to enter medicine directly so he approached his goal from another direction.

He completed a science degree and then successfully completed the graduate entry medical test (GAMSAT) to begin his MD program.

"What's important is I got there in the end," he said.

Although his parents still live in Rockhampton, Mr Thurecht will be staying at the custom-built student accommodation at the Rockhampton hospital.

"I have a few mates left in the area to catch up with but I've made lots of new friends at UQ and some of them are here too," he said.

"Catching up with family is the best thing about coming home."

He joined over 130 UQ third and fourth year medical students in a preparation program aimed at familiarising them with the unique challenges of rural practice.

 

Jacqui Chin, Patrick Liu, Thomas Thurecht, Sophie Olufson, Patrice Brennan, Jian Yang Lim and Makesh Gounden watch 'patient' Thomas Wong get a cast on
Jacqui Chin, Patrick Liu, Thomas Thurecht, Sophie Olufson, Patrice Brennan, Jian Yang Lim and Makesh Gounden watch 'patient' Thomas Wong get a cast on Jann Houley

For the first time, students have travelled to Emerald, Theodore, Kingaroy, Roma and Goondiwindi, along with existing locations including Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Toowoomba.

Acting Head of Rural Clinical School Associate Professor Bruce Chater said the program confirmed UQ's commitment to rural and remote communities and support for training future rural doctors.

"We're really excited about partnering with highly skilled local doctors and medical staff who support and deliver the Rural Medicine, GP and mental health preparation week program," he said.

"Sessions include workshops, clinical skills education and simulated emergency situations delivered by highly experienced local rural clinicians.

"Students will also be taken 'on country' by local Aboriginal mentors and learn about the local history and culture in the natural environment."

This will be some students' first experience of life in rural and regional Australia, travelling on average 400km to participate.

"The local communities put a lot of effort into welcoming the students and showing them the great lifestyle that is enjoyed in these thriving rural towns," Dr Chater said.

"Having the chance to live and experience clinical practice in a rural and remote community during a medical degree is a unique opportunity for students, and one that encourages them to practice rurally after graduation.

"Even short rural placements for otherwise metropolitan-based medical students significantly improves their knowledge of and their attitude to rural health issues."

Students will spend this week in the community, preparing for a longer rural placement.



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