JCU’s six-year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree focuses on producing doctors with the skills, experience and commitment to work in underserved northern Australian communities.
This is achieved through at least 20 weeks of rural and remote medical placements for each student, a curriculum focused on rural, remote, Indigenous and tropical medicine, and a selection process oriented towards applicants from North Queensland, rural or Indigenous backgrounds as well as applicants with a strong commitment to serve.
One of only two Australian medical schools that admit school leavers, JCU has a young, values-driven and diverse student cohort, with 74 per cent of graduates from non-metropolitan areas and 57 per cent from North Queensland communities at time of application.
More recently, JCU’s postgraduate training in general practice and its Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs partnership with hospitals and health services have formed a complete pathway or pipeline that enables doctors to continue their training in the north. The JCU GP Training Program, which provides formal training for general practice and rural medicine, has 470 GPs in training across a region that covers 90 per cent of Queensland.
The authors of the mid-career practice outcomes paper say the JCU medical school’s extended undergraduate rural training programs and postgraduate general practice training are showing positive early results in improving rural and remote generalist medicine practice outcomes across northern Australia.
“Additional government measures such as the Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs initiative will also be important to support and advocate for increased intern places in non-metropolitan hospitals, and in establishing more local training places for JCU and other medical school graduates who wish to train in generalist specialist or subspecialist pathways across north Queensland hospitals,” they write.