Open to Talent

Inspiring young doctors

Training to be a doctor is hard work – five years of intensive study after completing secondary school

Schools students
Curious: Hannah Neilley and Bianca Davey of Geneva
Christian College are shown how to treat a burn
by Rural Clinical School lecturer Lynn Greives.

By Lana Best

In Tasmania, becoming a doctor means studying with the University of Tasmania's School of Medicine in Hobart for three years then spending years four and five in one of three clinical schools.

Students can choose to stay in Hobart or move to a rural location such as the Rural Clinical School in Burnie or the Launceston Clinical School.

It's a long time to be studying everything from anatomy to advanced surgical skills, as well as undertaking research and getting through exams.

But when medical students volunteer to chat with curious children, check the health of the elderly at public events and go into classrooms to inspire younger students, they are reminded how much they will one day be needed and respected in a rural community – and their focus is renewed.

The RCS has developed a community engagement program that has mutual benefit for the young doctors and North West residents and its focus is encouraging more local students to apply for medicine and other health careers through the University.

RCS co-director Professor Lizzi Shires says the school runs a variety of programs to encourage local children to consider a career in health.

"We start as young as primary school children and run programs for all ages from primary school to year 12.

"All our sessions are run by medical students who act as peer educators, as they are closer in age to school-age children, and we can adapt our programs to fit in with the school's curriculum."

There is a continuous stream of medical students going into primary and high schools to provide health advice and talk about health careers and studying at university.

"We hope our work with the schools will inspire these school children to one day become a GP, paramedic, anesthetist, dermatologist, obstetrician, gynecologist, geriatric medicine specialist, pediatrician, pathologist, psychiatrist, radiologist, surgeon, medical administrator, academic or even a researcher who finds the next big breakthrough that will save lives."