In 2022, Connor was a recipient of a RUSTICA scholarship that supported him through his rural placement. Here is his reflection of the journey.
Over the last four weeks I was fortunate enough to spend some more time on King Island,
following a three-week placement for my elective in November 2021. I spent most of this
time working alongside the two permanent doctors, a pair of locum GPs and the rural
generalist RMO across the small hospital, busy general practice and occasionally visits to the
adjoining aged care facility. I was thankful of my experiences 12 months prior as I was able
to comfortably navigate the familiar healthcare environment and greater community. I
didn’t quite manage to replicate my rapid progression to riding a local’s horse on day 2 of
my placement last year, however I was quick to refresh my acquaintance and friendships
with locals at the golf and bowls club for several rounds of golf, gym, bare foot bowls, parmi
and 8 ball night each Thursday as well as swimming and exploring the communities further
afield from the main town of Currie.
I couldn’t recommend a rural placement enough to any medical student coming through.
For a long time, I hadn’t pictured myself working as a GP let alone a rural generalist,
however after spending time with experienced rural generalists and immersing myself in the
community, you get to experience good, interesting, skilful medicine which you can quickly
become a part of. My biggest word of advice for people approaching a rural placement or to
those who are sceptical about preferencing one of having to do one in the future, is that you
get out of it, what you put in. If you put yourself out there by going to bowls, taking up an
offer to go for a surf, play a game of pool after parmi night at the local pub, go to yoga or
the fashion show happening on the weekend, whatever it may be, doors begin to open. You
meet people, have fun and learn about how the community functions and what they value. I
believe that if you can do this, then its invaluable for your medical practice and
subsequently your experience in a rural or remote community. It would be easy to stay
within the confines of your accommodation and to think that there is nothing for you on a
placement in ’the middle of nowhere’. I think King Island and other remote communities
have a lot more to offer and a slight adjustment to your outlook on a rural placement will
greatly enhance your experience.
I’m not sure what my own pathway will look like in the future as I head into internship next
year however, I will remain very open-minded about rural practice with a wealth of positive
experience behind me from my King Island placements, kindly supported by Rustica.
UTAS rural clinical school