Future doctors introduced to rural health

Simon Hancock, second from right, with HVC staff and second year medical students from the University of Tasmania.

University of Tasmania medical students are swapping the city for the countryside this week, as part of their education and training to become doctors.

Rural Week, from Monday April 30 until Friday May 4, is an annual event that places more than 120 second year medical students in rural communities, so they can learn first-hand how healthcare is accessed and delivered differently in the country.

Students will find out what health issues affect people living rurally during their clinical placements at general practices, regional hospitals, aged care facilities, health hubs and local pharmacies.

They will learn from local government and community services about community health needs and priorities.

Industry visits meanwhile will allow the students to see the many positive effects industry can have on health, and learn how occupational health and safety can reduce risks.

Dr Lizzi Shires, Director of the Rural Clinical School, said experiencing rural health was a vital part of each student’s overall training.

“Rural Week forms an integral part of the Medicine curriculum, as it compliments what the students are already learning about rural health with practical first-hand experiences,” said Dr Shires.

“Students live and work rurally, talking to residents, health professionals and community representatives to gain a better understanding of what the everyday health issues really are.

“There are many rewarding aspects of pursuing a career in health in rural areas, so we hope this experience inspires the students to consider a future outside the city.

“It is important that all future doctors understand rural health issues so wherever they end up working, they can identify and treat rural people appropriately to improve access to health care.”

Eleven second year University of Tasmania students were welcomed tot he Huon Valley by Huon Valley Council (HVC) Commissioner Adriana Taylor and Acting General Manager Wayne Thorpe, along with representatives from the various medical practices around the Huon Valley.

“We hope that some of the students here today will be inspired to come back and be our doctors of the future,” said Ms Taylor.

“We welcome the students and hope that they enjoy their week here, and take every opportunity to get to know the people of the Valley.”

Simon Hancock, Practice Manager at the Huon Valley Health Centre, said that the practice has welcomed the second year students now for a number of years, and that Rural Week complements the rotations of third and fifth year medical students to the practice each year.

“The students definitely share their experiences amongst themselves and we hope to see some of them back for subsequent rotations in the future.”

This article originally appeared in the Huon News on Wednesday 2 May 2018.

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