Medical placement in North West Queensland

Student Reflection

Course: 

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Placement Location:

North West Queensland

Year of Placement:

2023

I thank you for your generous support of my recent work integrated learning (WIL) placement in the North West of Queensland – Mount Isa and Karumba, with the North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS). My placement as a fourth-year medical student in the NWHHS was eye-opening; I have a much greater understanding of how the system works in a rural hospital serving a large catchment area, and I had the pleasure of working under the supervision of several amazing clinicians. These clinicians allowed me to build not only my clinical understanding, but also gave me opportunities to practice history-taking, to present a case to them, and to write notes; skills like these are particularly important as a junior doctor, so getting a head start on this now was great.

Notably, this placement linked me to clinicians who are based in major cities (Brisbane and Sydney to be specific) who regularly locum in Mount Isa Hospital. I had never considered this but having exposure to this work arrangement will undoubtedly allow me to work rurally in some regard, even if my training and lifestyle requires me to be placed in a larger centre. I also appreciated the difference in clinical work in Mount Isa compared to larger hospitals – the medical ward was a general ward for all different medical specialty patients, and thus the physicians working in the medical ward had a broad range of knowledge and clinical experience you might not obtain working in a regional or metropolitan hospital.

Having ACEN’s WIL Scholarship to support my placement took a great weight off my shoulders, as I was unable to work remotely whilst in the North West. It also meant I had the financial ability to get involved in the social aspects of life out west, including the Mount Isa Rodeo! These social events – which were numerous, particularly as the rodeo celebrated its 100th year anniversary this year – were a great way to socialise with the other healthcare students on placement in Mount Isa, and I had the unexpected but fantastic chance to reconnect with a friend I had met several years previously as they were also on placement in the NWHHS at the same time as me!

I’d like to again thank the selection committee for supporting my placement, and look forward to continuing to work with ACEN in whatever capacity they require. My time in Mount Isa was deeply enriched by your support.