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Aspiring doctors flying high after outback experience

Three aspiring doctors were given the chance to gain experience working in outback Australia, thanks to Royal Flying Doctor Service scholarships.

The University of Tasmania students, who are studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, travelled to Port Hedland, Broome, Mount Isa and Port Augusta to gain an insight into practicing medicine in remote parts of the country.

The trio gained first-hand experience of caring for patients with a diverse range of health concerns, often in challenging conditions.

Last month the students were presented with certificates for the RFDS Commercial Travellers Association 4th Year Medical Student Scholarships.

Declan Hilder, who is studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in Burnie, said he felt lucky to be selected for the scholarship, describing it as an incredible experience.

“I was in Port Augusta for two weeks and went on approximately 30 flights, covering an area that went right up to the Northern Territory and West Australian boarders,” he said.

“We went out into the middle of nowhere and set up clinics, and people from the stations, hotels or nearby communities came.”

“One particularly memorable experience was visiting an Aboriginal community; it was a real privilege to be welcomed into the community and it was also very challenging because you are so far away from other health services.”

Declan is keen to pursue a career in rural or regional health when he graduates.

“Rural and regional practice has a great deal more diversity in the cases you treat, and you get to build stronger relationships with patients,” he said.

The other recipients were:

Fayral Qureshi, who is based at the University’s Clinical School at the Launceston General Hospital.  Growing up in Mount Isa, Queensland, Faryal applied to study medicine through the University’s Rural Application Process. She is passionate about improving health equity in rural and regional areas.

Medical student Claire Mackintosh, also studying in Launceston, travelled to Port Hedland and Broome last year. She is pursuing a career in medicine because she believes it will be rewarding and worthwhile.

There are four different types of scholarships delivered in a partnership between the University and the RFDS. Since 2013, the scholarships have supported 24 students.

Published on: 13 Mar 2020 2:45pm