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College of Medicine and Dentistry Cloncurry calling rural generalist trainee

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Cloncurry calling rural generalist trainee

Mon, 25 Oct 2021
Categories: Research, Staff, Students.

Doctor smiling in front of tree and building Rural generalist trainee Dr Megan Bates graduated from JCU Medicine in 2020 and is interning at Mount Isa Hospital.

Rural generalist trainee Dr Megan Bates was sold on life in North West Queensland even before she started her internship this year at Mount Isa Hospital.

Dr Bates grew up in rural Victoria, travelled Australia working in shearing sheds, abattoirs and pubs, and ran a general store for several years in a remote Northern Territory community before starting a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at JCU. Life-changing placements in Cloncurry during her medical degree sparked a dream of returning there as a rural generalist.

As she nears the end of her intern year, Dr Bates talks about the experience:

On interning in the Isa

“Mount Isa is a wonderful place. It's been a fantastic internship so far. I've thoroughly enjoyed it. We're well protected and we have excellent mentors. The entire team is just very welcoming and it's a great community as well.”

On the appeal of rural generalism

“I'm very much a person who likes the idea of being a jack of all trades. There's not one thing I'm not interested in. That's been my issue all along – I love a little bit of everything and I'm constantly changing my mind. Most of all, I love general practice. Finding a job that suits that ability to do general practice and that grassroots medicine and then manage your same patients in a hospital environment is a perfect mix for me and that's what I love about it.”

On her slice of paradise

“The plan is to finish my internship and PGY2 (postgraduate year 2) in Mount Isa and then transition back to Cloncurry, which is where I want to carve out my own slice of paradise. I had a couple of formative placements in Cloncurry in fourth year and then I did an entire year there in sixth year, which was just wonderful. I've always been attracted to living in remote Australia and I did a lot of that before I was ever in medicine. There's just something about being out in the bush that I really love. Cloncurry is that perfect mix of small-town general practice with hospital work. I think it lends itself to a very healthy career.

On family

“My son, Julian, came with me on my sixth-year placement and I put him in school for the year in Cloncurry, which was fantastic. He made some friends and was able to feel connected to the town and a part of the community. He’s 13 now and in boarding school at Charters Towers. I wanted him to feel connected to where I knew I wanted to live and for us to raise a family.”

The long way to medicine: Read more about Dr Bates’ path to a JCU medical degree.

Did you know? In Queensland in 2021, JCU medical graduates made up 42 per cent of rural generalist trainees and fellows.*  (*Source: Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway)

James Cook University is making rural health matter. We believe everybody deserves access to a doctor, no matter where they live. Find out more about how JCU is strengthening the health workforce in rural, regional and remote Queensland.