The ultimate medicine experience

Homya Bolla standing outside Weipa Hospital


College of Medicine and Dentistry

Publish Date

23 November 2020

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Final days of medicine

For final-year medicine student Homya Bolla, a rural placement in Weipa was the perfect way to cap off her six-year degree at JCU. Now preparing for her intern year at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Homya has reflected on what has been her ultimate medicine experience.

As I look back on the past six years, possibly the toughest years yet, it is hard to imagine that I have made it to the other side at all! It has been a rollercoaster ride with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I have made lifelong friends, met brilliant professors and needless to say that I have made some lasting connections hopefully for life. Medicine at JCU has given me a strong foundation to build on and has opened many doors and opportunities. I have been able to expand my knowledge by doing placements in various countries, attend national conferences and volunteer to improve the health and wellbeing of communities.

Aerial of Weipa Hospital

Welcome to Weipa

Fast forward to now, I feel extremely grateful to be doing my final med school placement in Weipa surrounded by some of the most talented and versatile Rural Generalists. The current group of six specialists are very competent in their roles and are wonderful role models for all medical students. The JCU Co-ordinator, Malama, has gone above and beyond in her role to facilitate our stay in Weipa. Malama has spent Thursday mornings yarning to us about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in this region including the origins of the surrounding Indigenous communities, Napranam and Mapoon.

One of the clinical highlights of my rural rotation would be working up a high-risk chest pain presentation by myself. I have been able to develop a management plan, present it to the consultant, do a phone referral to Cairns Base and subsequently transfer the patient to Cairns via RFDS for the care they required. This encounter in itself has improved my communication skills, clinical acumen and my confidence in managing high-risk patients. As a sixth-year medical student, I have been able to have autonomy, which has ultimately improved my confidence and competence in various clinical skills. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the outreach clinics where I have had a chance to meet some very interesting personalities and learn about social determinants of health up-close. I have been able to perform ascitic taps, incision and drainages and suturing to name a few. I had weekend shifts where it was just the consultant and I managing the 12-bed hospital and the Emergency Department.

Homya with her friends at the Cape
Homya outside JCU TI building
Homya and friends playing golf
Homya's adventures around the Cape

Explore and connect

The wider Weipa community has a lot to offer.

I have been fortunate enough to visit the Tip of Australia and cross the ocean to visit Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. We camped at the most incredible places and have been able to make a strong bond with the fellow students during our eight-hour road trip. I strongly believe the more you explore, the stronger your connection with the area builds.

I am looking forward to new beginnings as an intern next year with the ultimate goal of working in the beautiful city of Cairns. I will forever cherish this ten-week placement and I strongly believe that it is this experience that makes JCU students work ready and have a head start for internship.

Find your adventure, study medicine at JCU.