2016 Scholarship Report – Ebony Alexander

Thank you Rustica for the frequent support you give to student members, enabling and empowering them to experience rural medicine.

I didn’t have to go far from home to experience the most genuine rural medicine I have seen in my degree so far. Rustica has previously enabled me to experience rural medicine in the Kimberly’s and I have had placements in Swansea and Ulverstone.

The Oatlands experience was true rural medicine, acute medical beds, emergency treatment room, 30-years-loyal beloved GP and a tight nit community. We had walk in traumas, horse bites, gunshot wounds and mental health problems. We were handed the reins on the first day, taking our own patient loads and leading all emergency cases that came through the doors. If you ever get the chance to go to Oatlands, take it, if you don’t get the chance, try to make it.

Having personal ties to a farm on the outskirts of Oatlands I was able to combine my medical experience with some farm work, bottle-feeding lambs, motorbike riding and late night spotlighting. Creeping towards winter Oatlands graced us with a few white frosty mornings, and icy evenings. On one of my first runs around Lake Dulverton I found myself lost in a paddock and hurdling over cutting grasses, since then I have discovered some of Oatlands hidden treasures, sandstone caves along the banks of the lake.

Edging closer to Internship our GP mentors treated us like doctors giving us full responsibility. We had multiple chest pain work ups, running ECG’s putting in IV lines and examining. We set up and monitored blood transfusions within the GP rooms. We were faced with high intensity moments with anaphylaxis, pulmonary embolisms and cancer pain exacerbations. We had the true rural consult experience with every member of the family from grandma to grandchild piling into the room, sorting out everyone’s problems.

Through the five weeks we built a good relationship with the onsite paramedics and were able to jump aboard and help with call outs, picking up a seizing patient and a few cases of syncope. We had a very hands-on experience excising lesions, suturing up head traumas, bracing broken bones, putting in numerous cannulas and taking hundreds of people’s blood.

Oatlands Rural GP placement has been an engaging and invaluable learning experience preparing us confidently for the challenges we will face as an intern. Once again, if you get the chance to come, you have to take it. Thanks again to Rustica for your support.