Rural Clinical School

Community Partnerships

Staff, students and community representatives at Welcome BBQ 2011

Community Engagement

Community Advisory Board (CAB)

The CAB is a vital link with our communities.  Representatives from across the North West coast meet with Rural Clinical School (RCS) staff bi-annually to provide feedback and support for student placements.  CAB meetings are chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Health at UTAS.

One meeting is held in Burnie and the other in a rural community (on a rotating basis). Topics of discussion include the availability of resources, student travel, accommodation, remote placements and new learning opportunities.  The CAB comprises representatives from the Circular Head and Kentish Councils, local representatives from King Island and the West Coast, medical student representatives and nominees from State and Federal Departments.

High School Students

Year 9 Health Careers Camp

The RCS has three programs that involve high school students. 

  1. Year 9 Health Careers Workshops. These are one day workshops (2 per annum) that offer interactive learning experiences for students.  This program is the result of collaboration between the RCS, Tasmanian Department of Education and the THO - North West.
  2. Year 10 Health Careers practical skills workshop. This workshop runs annually.
  3. Medical students run workshops for local high schools as part of their rural placements.

Medical Students

The RCS offers year long programs for Year 4 and 5 medical students.  Additionally, we also teach into the Year 1, 2 and 3 programs which are located in Hobart, by offering 'rural weeks' to these students.

Year 1 Students.  Around 120 Year 1 students come to the North West every year for one week. They are housed at Camp Clayton, Ulverstone. Students attend farm visits, health care sites and skills sessions at the RCS during their stay. The busy program introduces the students to the many benefits of living and working in a rural setting.

The Year 2 program is another week long placement in a small rural community. Around 60 Year 2 students visit the North West region and are placed with the communities of Queenstown, Smithton, Sheffield, Latrobe, Port Sorell, Penguin and Wynyard. Over the week, students map local networks of health care, meet with local doctors and health professionals and get a feel for the rural lifestyle. At the end of the week the students give a presentation on their findings to local community representatives.

Year 3 medical students come to the North West coast across 8 weeks in the calendar year. These students enjoy placements with rural General Practitioners (GP's), during their stay.

For more information about any of these programs, please contact rural.clinical.school@utas.edu.au or phone +61 3 6430 4550.

Students outside Burnie Public Hospital

The Rural Clinical School (RCS) has partnerships with the North West Regional Hospital (NWRH), the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH) and the North West Private Hospital (NWPH). At any one time, up to 57 medical students are placed in different departments throughout these hospitals.

Year 4 students experience 6 x 4 week attachments in different areas of acute services to assist in fulfilling learning objectives and are expected to take part in ward activities during the day, as well as after hours as scheduled, or where learning opportunities arise. 

Clinical attachments in surgery, medicine, emergency medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology will generally involve rotations at either the NWRH or the MCH campus to maximise clinical learning opportunities.  The length of time at any campus will be four weeks in total.

The Year 4 attachments at the RCS are:

  • Medicine
  • Surgery (General & Orthopaedics)
  • Mental Health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Paediatrics and
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Final year students experience 6 x 5 week attachments in the following disciplines: 

  • Medicine
  • Surgery (General & Orthopaedics
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Advanced Chronic Disease / Anaesthetics
  • Selective

Final year students also experience a five week remote attachment at either King Island, Smithton or the West Coast to appreciate the particular challenges and limitations of medical care in remote communities.

Students at GP Clinic

Primary Care is an integral part of the MBBS program. The Primary Care Program (PCP) team are responsible for co-ordinating a student placement roster for Year 3, 4 and 5 medical students.  Seventeen general practices participate in the teaching of medical students in the North West region, including practices on King Island, Queenstown and Smithton.

Groups of one to four students are allocated to each practice and a nominated general practitioner supervisor evaluates students' clinical learning at each practice.

Primary care involves the widest scope of health care. Clinical services and training are provided by GP's, practice nurses, community health care nurses, early childhood nurses and community pharmacists.

Students are encouraged to spend time with practice nurses, allied health professionals and be involved in community health care.

The Rural Clinical School (RCS) manages the programs but also allocates academic staff with general practice experience to General Practices to provide support and guidance in the learning and teaching of the medical students.

For more information about the Primary Care Program please contact Mrs Maggie Lea

Ms Rose Moore and RCS Student

Postgraduate Medical Education Council of Tasmania (PMCT)

The PMCT team is responsible for overseeing the supervision, education and support of hospital based junior doctors at the Tasmanian Health Organisation - North West (THO-NW).

This group includes interns, resident medical officers and junior registrars working across both hospital sites within the THO-NW.

In the North West the PMCT team work closely with the Rural Clinical School (RCS) by including senior students in some junior doctor education. This close working relationship ensures vertigal integration of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programs. PMCT utilise the RCS teaching facilities at both the North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) and the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH).

Support for Teaching

A primary role for all members of the PMCT is to support clinicians engaged in teaching. The Medical Education Advisor (Rose Winter) and the Clinical Medical Educator (Luanne Steven) provide this support or co-ordinate its provision.  They are located at the RCS, on the first floor, opposite the Clinician's Lounge.

More information can be found on the PMCT website.