Med students call Port Augusta home

WARM WELCOME: (back) Student Support Coordinator ARCS Port Augusta Kerry Steer, fifth-year student San Matthews, fourth-year student Alexandra Kay, fifth-year student Jed Campbell, fourth-year student Cindy Cheung (front) fifth year student Larissa Au, fifth-year student Emily Hammond, fifth-year student Oshadha Aluthwala, sixth-year student Mrunal Hiwase.
WARM WELCOME: (back) Student Support Coordinator ARCS Port Augusta Kerry Steer, fifth-year student San Matthews, fourth-year student Alexandra Kay, fifth-year student Jed Campbell, fourth-year student Cindy Cheung (front) fifth year student Larissa Au, fifth-year student Emily Hammond, fifth-year student Oshadha Aluthwala, sixth-year student Mrunal Hiwase.

A crop of budding medical professionals from the University of Adelaide have arrived in Port Augusta, keen to immerse themselves in a year of exciting hands-on experience.

The students will spend the next nine months soaking in everything the Far North region has to offer while they undertake an intensive clinical placement.

In their fifth-year, students from the Adelaide Rural Clinical School will be placed in general practices in Port Augusta and surrounding towns and will learn essential practical clinical skills under the supervision and guidance of local doctors.

The core group will be joined by four fifth-year rural medical students from Clare who will each spend eight weeks with the Paediatrics Unit and Human Reproductive Health Unit at the Port Augusta Hospital.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery student Emily Hammond chose Port Augusta as her first preference for rural placement. 

“The country kind of experience was appealing, it seems like there is a really tight knit community here,” Emily said.

“It’s a completely different place to where I have ever been before and the teaching opportunities are just really amazing. There is great paediatrics and obs and gyne exposure as well.”

The students are exposed to a variety of specialist sessions including Paediatrics, Human Reproductive Health, Geriatrics and Surgery.

They will also spend some time at Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation and the Royal Flying Doctors Services during their time in Port Augusta.

“I’m hoping to walk away with a lot of really great clinical skills that I can bring back to my practice, and also just some really great memories of my time in the community,” Emily said.

“In med school it was always something that was on my mind, the idea of coming to a rural town, but I’ve never really had any exposure so it will be interesting to figure out if this changes my career pathway.”

Adelaide Rural Clinical School Head of Education Lawrie McArthur said there was a goal of retaining young health professionals in country towns like Port Augusta.

This year, an additional 32 fifth-year students from other rural locations in the University of Adelaide ARCS program will also come to Port Augusta for an intensive two week Paediatrics rotation over the course of the year.

“There’s a wealth of expertise and experience that these students gain from doing their clinical placements in Port Augusta and surrounds,” he said.

“They learn advanced communication skills because they are talking with patients and people from all sorts of backgrounds. They get to work through their health requirements with them.”

Port Augusta’s ARCS program also hosts 12 fourth-year medical students over the course of the year who train with the Port Augusta Hospital Surgery team on a nine week rotation.