Students spread wings with Warwick Hospital
THE Rose City has welcomed five new doctors-in-training to its hospital through an innovative program to retain rural doctors.
Griffith University medical students Swaha Bose, Siobhain Williamson, Steph Hagan, Alex Do and Stephanie Gederts have come to Warwick through the Rural Longlook Program.
The program was pioneered in Warwick and Kingaroy to help grow the number of doctors practising in rural Queensland.
Administered by Queensland Rural Medical Education, the program has spread to Stanthorpe, Beaudesert and Gympie since starting in the Rose City five years ago.
QRME Medical Director Professor Scott Kitchener said Warwick Hospital was the first hospital to develop the innovative model of the Rural Longlook Program in which students learn and work alongside the Rural Generalist doctors of the hospital for at least a year or more.
"This has been a very popular program with the students and it has also been highly effective academically and as a workforce solution,” he said.
"One of the students from Warwick last year was awarded a University Medal, and the Longlook Program has returned the highest proportion of students to regional and rural internships.
"The Griffith Rural Clinical School is very pleased to continue the Longlook program with Warwick Hospital.”
Co-ordinator Hollie Berghofer said students placed in Warwick had the highest academic results.
"The program is targeted in getting and hopefully retaining students in rural areas,” Dr Berghofer said.
"Statistically, Longlook students do better than most other students at Griffith University and Warwick has done especially well in the last two cohorts I've supervised.
"We tend to have a very high quality of students who come here to learn and we're lucky to have great teachers here in Warwick.
"Warwick is generally oversubscribed - students often get sent elsewhere from here.”
Warwick's academic reputation as well as the practical experience was a key factor for the students selecting the country hospital.
"I was pretty keen on Longlook because of the high grades,” Miss Bose said.
"Before coming to Warwick I wasn't so sure about staying rural but since I have been here I've learnt a lot more about it and seen a lot more opportunities.
"This is only our fourth week and we've already had lots of experience in the different units of the hospital.”
Ms Williamson said, while there was still a lot to learn, having friendly teachers made a big difference.
"I've really enjoyed working with the staff here,” she said.
"Everyone is really friendly and helpful and like the others, I love how hands- on everything has been.”
Ms Hagan said the student dormitory on the hospital grounds made being on call easier for them.
"We can be called in by the doctors any time of the night, like when a baby is delivered,” she said.
"Staying here means it's usually just a matter of getting dressed and running over, something you'd never get in metro.”
The five students come from varied backgrounds.
Miss Bose studied medical science in her undergraduate career and Ms Williamson studied food science before she qualified for medicine.
Mr Do said his previous pharmacy experience helped him in training, while Ms Hagan said she was eager to build on her paramedical background.
"I just wanted the new challenge of medicine,” Mr Do said.
"I wanted to do that bit more than in paramedicine where the care ends on hand-over,” Ms Hagan said.