A new cohort has started the Regional Medical Pathway (RMP) program at Bundaberg’s CQ University campus.
34 new students, in Bundaberg and Rockhampton, have been presented with their stethoscopes as part of orientation.
The three-year course will enable them to continue into the Doctor of Medicine course at University of Queensland.
CQUniversity head of course associate professor Sonia Saluja says the RMP has grown into more than a medical educational pathway.
“The RMP program has evolved into a wonderful community of educators, mentors, clinicians, and advocates committed to improving regional, rural, and remote health outcomes,” she says.
“A key feature of the course is the observational placements that the students attend in their first year. The placements provide the students with significant community linkage and integration within a broad variety of health provider domains in the regions.
“Last year, students spent time in the CQ and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and with other health providers. Some of the community placements included pharmacies, aged care facilities, physiotherapists, and psychologists.
“The placement opportunities provided the students with an immersive observational learning experience, where they gained an understanding of the bigger picture of health care delivery within regional communities.”
One fresh-faced doctor-in-training, 18-year-old from Bundaberg Hannah Earl, is excited to begin her studies in a regional area where she one day could contribute to the health and wellbeing of its community.
“I feel that establishing a strong health workforce in regional and rural settings is incredibly important; a person’s location should in no way lessen the quality of healthcare that they have access to,” she explains.
“I feel that everyone should have an equal chance of living a healthy life no matter where they live, and therefore believe that increasing the number of medical professionals working in these settings – through programs such as the Regional Medical Pathway – is vital to improving health outcomes for these communities.”
Hannah was inspired at an early age to study medicine after a medical team saved her grandfather’s life.
“When I was very young, an amazing healthcare team operated on my granddad after an aortic dissection. I have always thought it incredible that their knowledge and skill allowed them to save his life and give him the gift of more time with his family.”
Another Bundaberg local Christian Lane-Krebs is also eager to kick-start his career in medicine at CQUniversity, having already studied a few courses at the University through the Start Uni Now program (SUN) while still in school and now enrolled in the RMP.
Despite living with a disability and a complex medical condition himself, Christian is eager to give back to the profession that saved his life nearly 18 years ago and to the community he has grown up in.
“As a person with a disability and complex medical condition, I have experienced positives and negatives of regional health systems including the necessity of regular travel to metropolitan areas for treatment,” he explains.
“My lived experience has identified discrepancy between rural/remote and metropolitan medicine. This is the defining reason for my pursuit of becoming a medical practitioner.
“Additionally, being a person who experienced traumatic birth events, I would also say that a couple of my initial treating doctors, such as Dr Judy Williams, who is the hero that saved my life, have shown me the impact that medical practitioners can have on a person’s life.”
Christian is defying the odds after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of two, experiencing an intra-hepatic bleed due to birth trauma, and being hearing impaired.
“I have often felt like an outcast in many social situations, especially within my younger years, as I was worried if people were only seeing me as a person living with a disability.
“However, through this adversity I have been able to overcome the setbacks and am now in a place where I can use my platform to help those experiencing a similar situation.”