Old Flinderian Dr Annabelle Faint (Flinders Class of 2015) is one of James Cook University’s (JCU) new crop of doctors.
Dr Faint, from Buderim, graduated from the university in December after spending a total of five months at Longreach Hospital in 2021. Her one regret? Not spending her entire sixth year there.
“Being in a small community, you really felt that you were part of a team,” Dr Faint said. “I wish, in hindsight, I had spent the whole year in Longreach. I loved Longreach, and I would definitely see myself going back there.”
Highlights of Dr Faint’s extended placement at Longreach included delivering a baby on her birthday and flying to Birdsville on outreach for a week as part of the COVID response team for a pop-up clinic at the Big Red Bash.
Each year, approximately 25 final-year JCU medical students do the sought-after extended placements of five or 10 months. These are in addition to the 20 weeks every JCU medical student spends on rural placement during their six-year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.
“I think that at JCU you’re shaped as a doctor just purely based on the experiences you’re given,” Dr Faint said. “The more you go rural, the more opportunities you have to step out of your comfort zone.”
Dr Faint is interning at Gold Coast University Hospital this year.
Professor Tarun Sen Gupta, Head of the JCU Clinical School in Townsville, said students on extended rural placements gained increased clinical skills and confidence for their internship year while forming their identity as rural doctors. In this time, they were able to become a valuable part of the medical team in small towns.
Professor Sarah Larkins, Dean, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry, said JCU was proud to train doctors “from, in, with, and for rural, regional and remote communities”.
“Around 70 per cent of our students come from rural, regional or remote backgrounds, three-quarters of JCU medicine graduates ‘go rural’ after graduation, and almost half of our graduates are now generalist practitioners, far more than any other university in the country,” Professor Larkins said.
She said despite graduating, just 2.4 per cent of the national output of doctors – around 50 per cent of rural, regional and remote doctors in Queensland – were JCU graduates.
This article was originally published on the James Cook University and provided by James Cook University, February 2022