Malanda Medical Care
The work | I was able to see patients myself prior to their appointment with the GP, Dr Catriona Arnold-Nott, which was a great experience for a second-year student. I was also fortunate to practise a host of clinical skills including suturing, ear syringing, taking ECGs, and phlebotomy. I had a great time in Malanda and it was truly a unique experience for which I’ll be forever grateful.
Outside work | Being located near a lot of waterfalls, it was only natural to explore the scenic beauty of the Tablelands in my spare time. My supervisor was very friendly and often invited me back to their home among the dairy farms. One morning before placement I helped milk the cows and feed the calves before heading off to the GP practice with my supervisor. Can’t get much more ‘rural placement’ than that!
The work |As a fourth-year student, I practised a lot of patient clerking and presenting to doctors, as well as collecting bloods and putting in cannulas. We had plenty of patients with lacerations from the banana farms, which meant I got to practise lots of wound care and suturing. I also had the weekly opportunity to perform paracentesis, which is draining excess fluid from the abdomen. The Senior Medical Officers in Innisfail would go to the trouble of providing extra teaching in skills such as bedside ultrasound and echocardiography, as well as practising resuscitation scenarios in paediatric and adult simulated cases.
Outside work |Luckily there were other students in the region as well, so we explored some of the nature spots like the Babinda Boulders and Josephine Falls. Sometimes I liked to just go for walks in town with my headphones to relax. One of the highlights from Innisfail was a weekly board games and pizza night hosted by one of the doctors from the hospital.
The work | As a sixth-year student, you’re often entrusted with more responsibility and thus given access to more opportunities to practise skills. We would work with the other doctors to see patients in ED and determine whether they required referral to a larger centre or could be treated locally through their GP. I performed a lot of cannulations, suturing, blood taking, applying back slabs for fractures and referrals for patients to Rockhampton if they needed a higher level of care. Biloela is a great place to gain experience and I got to know many wonderful locals who welcomed me into the community as if I were a local myself.
Outside work | I’d go to the local tennis club at least two to three times a week to play fixtures and social tennis with the rest of the community. This was fantastic because it reminded me a lot of my days in Blackall as a child playing social tennis. We would frequently meet at the local pub for a meal to catch up with some of the local and visiting doctors, as well as the students from UQ who were also on rural placement.