Doctors in rural areas sometimes have to rely on their wits more than advanced technology, as fourth year medical students Rebecca Calder and Michelle Burnham can attest.

Both Rebecca and Michelle have completed half of their medical education in country hospitals and will now finish off their final year with a six-week stint in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Rebecca is keen to pursue a rural career in maternal health and Michelle is interested in tropical medicine so PNG was an appropriate choice for their selective placement.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and previous students say it’s a solid learning experience,” says Michelle.

After finishing their first two years medical training at Griffith University Gold Coast campus, both students spent their third year rotation at Kingaroy Hospital before moving to Goondiwindi for their final year.

Rebecca believes the integrated approach to medical education in country Australia produces safer interns and provides more opportunities for hands-on learning.

“Students are a lot more involved in the treatment team at a rural hospital and we were able to spend more time with patients,” she explains.

“This allowed us to develop diagnostic and clinical decision-making skills based on our own resources rather than always relying on specialist technology.”