Rural Clinical School

Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Community Advisory Board (CAB)

CAB CommitteeThe 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.

Primary & High School Education Programmes

High School students at RCS

The Rural Clinical School (RCS) offers a School Education programme for local primary and high school students to visit the RCS (at either campus) to raise their interest in health and health careers. We cover all ages and can tailor our programme to suit different grades and link to the national curriculum. The RCS is also able to visit schools and deliver similar programme onsite. Our medical students take the lead with the support from our clinical educators.  

Click here for more information on the Primary School Education Programme.

Click here for more information on the High School Education Programme.

Health Careers Programmes

The RCS has three programmes that involve high school students. Programmes are run at both Rural Clinical School campuses -  Burnie and Latrobe each year. 

Year 10, 11 & 12 Health Careers Evenings: the sessions provide an opportunity for students and their parents to talk directly to Health Professionals and University College of Health and Medicine representatives and gather information on courses, scholarships and accommodation. The night consists of short (5min) presentations followed by a "expo" style arrangement where your questions can be answered and promotion material obtained along with a light supper. These evenings are held twice a year at our Burnie and Mersey campuses.

Click here for the 2018 information flyer. To register your attendance, click here.

Year 9 Health Careers Workshops: these workshops offer local North West students the opportunity to discover the types of health careers available to them by experiencing a 1 day interactive workshop lead by local health professionals and medical students.  The workshops cover careers in fields such as medicine, nursing and allied health.  Presenters will talk about their university degree, their career and in some workshops the students will undertake an activity which represents the day to day tasks of the profession.  This programme is held twice a year at our Burnie and Mersey campuses and is the result of collaboration between the Rural Clinical School, Tasmanian Department of Education and the Tasmanian Health Service. 

Click here for the 2018 Burnie flyer and click here for the 2018 Latrobe flyer.

Year 10 Health Careers practical skills workshop: students who are interested in a career in the health industry come along to our programme where they will cover topics such as dealing with emergencies, diagnoses, beyond ER – dealing with illness and health, choosing a health career – how do I get there?  This is a whole day programme where students will rotate through each activity.  This workshop is held twice a year at our Burnie and Mersey campuses. 

Click here for more information about the 2018 workshops.

Medical Students

The RCS offers year long programmes for Year 4 and 5 medical students.  Additionally, we also teach into the Year 1, 2 and 3 programmes 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 Rural Clinical School during their stay. The busy programme introduces the students to the many benefits of living and working in a rural setting.

The Year 2 programme is another week long placement in a small rural community. Around 50 Year 2 students visit the North West region and are placed with the communities of Queenstown, Smithton, Sheffield, Latrobe, Port Sorell, Penguin, Wynyard and Devonport. 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 programmes, please contact or phone +61 3 6430 4550.

North West Regional Hospital Entrance

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.

Skills training

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 Ms Karen Lowe

Demonstrating to school pupils

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 vertical 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 and Luanne Steven the Clinical Medical Educator will provide this support or co-ordinate its provision.  They are located at RCS Burnie, on the first floor, opposite the Clinician's Lounge.

More information can be found on the PMCT website.