Esperance Rural Clinical School welcomes new students

New recruits: Olivia Italiano, Micheala Ross, Sophie Sparkes and Catherine Fowler. Photo: Sarah Makse.
New recruits: Olivia Italiano, Micheala Ross, Sophie Sparkes and Catherine Fowler. Photo: Sarah Makse.

Four budding doctors have eagerly joined the Esperance community to begin a year of study at the Rural Clinical School.

The competitive program provides hands on experience for medical students in their penultimate year of study and the opportunity to hone their craft in a regional community.

The cohort will learn under the guidance of three medical coordinators including Dr Louise Pearn, Dr Genevieve McPherson and Dr Dale Bosenberg.

The students were given a taste of local life during their orientation weeks, visiting local farms, flying to Hopetoun, touring the Port and of course, familiarising themselves with the iconic Esperance coastline.

Notre Dame student Micheala Ross grew up in Denmark and moved to Perth seven years ago to pursue medicine.

A keen surfer, Ms Ross said she couldn't wait to immerse herself in a coastal community once more.

"I started medicine wanting to be a rural GP because growing up in a small community I saw the impact that a couple of the GPs had on the whole town," she said.

"It wasn't just medical, it was also being connected with sporting groups and being a mentor for lots of different people.

"It's really inspiring how the health of so many can benefit from having someone who is committed to their community."

University of Western Australia student Sophie Sparkes grew up in Busselton and earned a degree in physiology on her pathway to medicine.

Ms Sparkes said it was a privilege to join the community and she couldn't wait to get involved in hockey and learn about rural healthcare from local families.

"We are really lucky to get one on one teaching, there is one doctor for four of us and in Perth that would never happen," she said.

"I've always thought I'd like to specialise, seeing the GP's have their own specialisations down here, I'd never really known that was an option."

UWA student Olivia Italiano was raised on a dairy farm in Harvey and is considering specialising in pediatrics.

Ms Italiano said she looked forward to the diverse learning experiences available in regional medicine.

"We have loved it so far, it is so beautiful and everyone is so welcoming and have been happy to take us in. Seeing how it all works down in the country is very valuable," she said.

Catherine Fowler grew up in Williams and has a degree in psychology. She said she looked forward to working directly with patients.

"We have to step up and really be a part of the team and be proactive in helping with treatment," she said.

"I am looking forward to working with the doctors and getting more opportunities to be autonomous in the hospital and also exploring the area, camping, doing lots of sport and getting to know the community."