Students excited for rural GP experience

LEARNING: Fifth-year medical students Peta Musgrove and Hamish Phillips are currently based at Ceduna District Health Services as part of their year-long Eyre Peninsula placement. Picture: Luca Cetta

LEARNING: Fifth-year medical students Peta Musgrove and Hamish Phillips are currently based at Ceduna District Health Services as part of their year-long Eyre Peninsula placement. Picture: Luca Cetta

Two medical students are currently gaining experience in Ceduna as part of a year-long placement on Eyre Peninsula.

Fifth-year University of Adelaide students Hamish Phillips and Peta Musgrove will be based at Port Lincoln throughout 2020, which includes a four-week stint at Ceduna District Health Services.

The pair said they were enjoying their stay in Ceduna and appreciated the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills across different areas at the hospital.

"I am loving it, it is a beautiful place and it is convenient having all the health services in one place," Ms Musgrove said.

"We are consulting, helping treat patients in the ward, doing aged care rounds, working with specialists who come up here in the theatre and sitting in on consults, and in emergency.

"We are doing a bit of everything, and the GPs here are so multi-skilled in what they do."

Mr Phillips added that having a rural stint provided a better learning environment as they had a lot more responsibility.

With towns across Eyre Peninsula in need of doctors, both Mr Phillips and Ms Musgrove said they were considering a career in rural medicine and that spending the year in the region would provide an insight into life as a rural doctor.

"We are both considering a rural career, and the Rural Generalist Pathway provides options," Mr Phillips said.

"Living the rural life for a year you see the ins and outs and the highs and lows, rather than if you were just here for a few weeks," Ms Musgrove said.

"You get more exposure and develop a relationships with the doctors as you see them each day."

They also noted their were differences in the resources and needs of regional towns after spending time in both Port Lincoln and Ceduna.

"There is a difference even between Port Lincoln and Ceduna, and the demographics are different here," Mr Phillips said.

Director of the Adelaide Rural Clinical School Dr Lucie Walters said about 30 per cent of their students choose to spend their penultimate year in a rural area across South Australia.

"The reason we do this is there's strong evidence that having a clinical year in a rural area early in your training is the best way to encourage people to work as a rural doctor," she said.

"Twenty per cent of all students who have gone through the rural program are right now providing care to rural people."