Tennessee placement scores a ten out of ten
- Future Students
- Current Students
- Research and Teaching
- Partners and Community
- About JCU
- Celebrating 50 Years
- Anton Breinl Research Centre
- Agriculture Technology and Adoption Centre
- Living on Campus
- Advanced Analytical Centre
- Applying to JCU
- Australian/NZ Students
- Australian Lions Stinger Research
- Australian Tropical Herbarium
- Careers at JCU
- Association of Australian University Secretaries
- Careers and Employability
- Australian Quantum & Classical Transport Physics Group
- Centre for International Trade and Business in Asia
- Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology
- College of Business, Law and Governance
- College of Healthcare Sciences
College of Medicine and Dentistry
- News & Stories
- Get Involved
- Short Courses & Professional Development
- Clinical Electives (non-JCU students)
- Making Rural Health Matter
- Higher Degree by Research
- JCU GP Training
- Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs
- Contact us
- College of Science and Engineering
- COVID-19 Advice
- Daintree Rainforest Observatory
- Diploma of Higher Education
- Division of Research and Innovation
- Division of Tropical Environments and Societies
- Division of Tropical Health and Medicine
- Economic Geology Research Centre
- Elite Athletes
- Fish Passage Planning and Design
- Foundation for Australian Literary Studies
- Give to JCU
- Graduate Research School
- JCU Ideas Lab
- Indigenous Education and Research Centre
- Indigenous Legal Needs Project
- IT Services
- International Students
- JCU College
- JCU Contact Information
- JCU Eduquarium
- JCU Global Experience
- JCU Motorsports
- JCU Sport
- Language and Culture Research Centre
- Marine Geophysics Laboratory
- New Students
- Off-Campus Students
- Open Day
- Outstanding Alumni Awards
- Parents and Partners
- Pathways to University
- Planning and Performance
- Planning for your future
- Professional Experience Placement
- Rapid Assessment Unit
- JCU Connect
- Safety and Wellbeing
- Scholarships @ JCU
- Study Now
- Student Equity and Wellbeing
- Tropical Queensland Maths Hub
- Unicare Centre and Unicampus Kids
- VAVS Home
- Work Health and Safety
- WHOCC for Vector-borne & NTDs
- Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
James Cook University medicine students, Jordan Harding and Lauren Gomes went on a placement of a lifetime to the heartland of country music and Elvis Presley.
The students spent their four week placement in rural Tennessee, United States. The pair were two of five recipients of the Lynn Kratcha Memorial Rural Bursary, offered to second year JCU medicine students interested in rural medicine.
“The thing I enjoyed most about the placement was that it had a very rural feel. We had a really great opportunity to work not only in a general practice environment but also in an emergency department and nursing home for the first time,” explained Jordan.
The students described the differences between the Tennessee community and rural communities in Australia as a “culture shock”.
“We got to see a variety of patients in different settings. We had many interesting talks with people about their different beliefs and it was really eye-opening,” said Lauren.
Most weekends Lauren and Jordan spent their time exploring the surrounding states. The pair drove from Atlanta, travelled through Alabama and Virginia, and visited Kentucky and Nashville.
“The U.S. has many different cultures within one country. So when we were in Tennessee it was entirely different to California, New York or Canada,” explained Jordan.
“We got a bit stressed sometimes because I was on the wrong side of the road but it was an adventure,” laughed Lauren.
Working and living in Tennessee deepened the students’ understanding of what being ‘rural’ means.
“What is rural in the U.S. is quite different to what is rural here. In the U.S. the communities are a lot closer to the capital cities than a lot of Australian rural towns,” explained Jordan. “Even in the remote towns they had great health facilities, whereas at my last placement in Central Queensland, patients had to travel two hours for an x-ray,”
Despite the differences in circumstance, the students still felt the same sense of community and mutual care that seems to be widespread across rural health services.
“It was really clear to me how respected the doctors are in their rural community. The community really trusted them and I think that is a really important part of rural health in Australia also,” said Lauren.
The students have returned home with a broadened perspective and renewed enthusiasm for rural medicine.
“Going to the U.S. and experiencing their health system first-hand has really inspired me to come back here and reflect on what they did well over there and what could be improved,” said Jordan.
The bursary was founded in 2001 by Dr Lynn Kratcha who was a rural doctor in North Dakota who undertook parts of his training in North Queensland.
“For anyone who’s thinking of applying for the bursary we definitely recommend it. We had the most amazing time and we learned a lot. We saw so many different cultures and regions of places I never thought I’d be able to go,” said Lauren.