Four Rural Clinical School of WA students have recently arrived to spend a year of study in Esperance.
The Esperance Rural Clinical School site is coordinated by Dr Louise Pearn, Dr Donald Howarth, Dr Genevieve McPherson and Dr Dale Bosenberg who was a student in Esperance in 2010 and has returned to practice.
University of WA students Kate Maddams and Milly Bakker and Notre Dame students Luke Sexton and Dean Grimmond will complete placements with various GPs around town and at Esperance Health Campus.
Mr Sexton said he was especially interested in dealing with emergencies in a rural setting.
“Because you are the only health care for miles, the breadth of things that you see is bigger than in a tertiary hospital where things get shipped off to other specialties and areas,” he said.
“What walks through the door is what you have got to work with.”
Mr Sexton said he was also excited about getting integrated in the community and into local sports clubs.
Ms Bakker said she was looking forward to working with local GP obstetricians.
“I’m looking forward to working with the GP obstetricians and following women through their pregnancies and the labour process,” she said.
That is one of the greatest benefits that I’m looking forward to, being able to have that medical scope of a look at the whole process from the GP visit to the hospital stage.Notre Dame medical student Dean Grimmond.
“Hopefully then catching up with the patient afterwards as well.”
Ms Maddams said she grew up on a farm and had always considered becoming a rural doctor.
“I’m most excited to be back in a rural setting, being outdoors by the beach,” she said.
“I want to try surfing, from a lifestyle perspective it’s nice to get out of Perth.”
Ms Maddams said the students were looking for a 4WD to enrich their rural experience.
Mr Grimmond said one of the best benefits of being with the Rural Clinical School was being within the community.
“You have got the potential to follow a patient the entire year, if they have got ongoing medical issues, through either their GP or the hospital,” he said.
“That is one of the greatest benefits that I’m looking forward to, being able to have that medical scope of a look at the whole process from the GP visit to the hospital stage.”
Mr Grimmond said he was from central-west NSW and was looking forward to being back in a country area full time.
“We’re very lucky to be in such a lovely part of the world, I don't know whether we’ll be able to go back to Perth willingly,” he said.
“I’m originally from a very small country town, so I thought 14,000 people would be a lot, but [Esperance has] still got that small community feel to it, which is lovely.”
Dr Pearn said the student’s placements were beneficial to regional patients whether or not students returned to practice in the regions.
“Even if students end up choosing to be doctors in the city, to have come and worked in a place like Esperance and to understand what it’s like referring patients and to understand what the patient goes through when being referred to the city is important,” she said.
“We obviously love it when students come back as rural doctors here, and we have a few of those in town now which is great, but even if they decide not to have a rural career, the benefit of seeing the country and understanding it from the patient’s perspective is fantastic.”