James Cook University graduate Dr Gabrielle Keating is embarking on a career as a rural generalist doctor after spending all of her final year on an extended rural placement in Cloncurry.
Her favourite thing about the placement? "The people, full stop!"
Dr Keating, who grew up in Yeppoon, is interning in Mount Isa this year and looking forward to seeing where the rural generalist path takes her.
"If I didn't go to JCU, I highly doubt I would have ended up in the bush, nor would I be going into my internship with half the experience I have been able to acquire," she said.
"All of the main highlights have been from my rural placements, from my first trauma case in second year in Charters Towers to delivering babies at the doorstep in Cloncurry. None of my experiences in the city centres even comes close to comparing to the fun I have had out bush."
On placement in Mount Isa, Dr Keating assisted in births and a number of surgeries. In Cloncurry, she did plenty of suturing, and everything from skin excisions and biopsies to intubating, cannulating, CPR, relocating dislocations, and casts.
In her downtime, she enjoyed swimming at the dam, socialising at the pub with friends, horse riding, visiting friends on surrounding cattle stations, and exploring the area. "All it takes is to make one local friend before you know half the town and have friends for life," she said.
RELATED NEWS: Dr Kathrin Orda is Mount Isa's latest medical graduate
About 25 final-year JCU medical students each year do the sought-after extended placements of five or 10 months. These are in addition to the 20 weeks every JCU medical student spends on rural placement during their six-year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.
Professor Tarun Sen Gupta, Head of the JCU Clinical School in Townsville, said students on extended rural placements gained increased clinical skills and confidence for their internship year while forming their identity as rural doctors. In this time, they were able to become a valuable part of the medical team in small towns.
"Beyond the educational benefits of the extended placements, there is a substantial economic benefit in terms of increased likelihood of people working rurally and working for longer," said Professor Sen Gupta, a former Richmond GP.
In Queensland in 2021, JCU medical graduates made up 42 per cent of rural generalist trainees and fellows.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY? Send letters to the editor or story tips to email@example.com
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.