If you ask a JCU medical student about their most memorable university experiences, you’re likely to hear a lot about rural and remote placements. It’s a core component of our students' training and a key factor in why JCU is Australia's most successful university at producing graduates who serve our regional, rural and remote communities.
In addition to the core university placements, students are encouraged to look for opportunities to delve deeper through initiatives like the Lynn Kratcha Memorial Rural Bursary. Since 2001, this bursary has provided funding for second-year JCU students to undertake an additional rural placement to select locations. The bursary recipients for 2021 have recently been announced, with six students getting ready to embark on placements to Queensland’s far north. These placements often have a profound impact on students development, both professionally and personally, as previous recipients can attest to.
Third-year JCU medical student, Eric Smith, undertook a four-week Lynn Kratcha placement to Weipa at the end of 2020. He saw the bursary advertised earlier in the year and recognised it as an opportunity to explore his interest in chronic disease management through a rural or remote lens.
“It was an incredible experience,” Eric says. “Being thrust into the middle of a remote community gave me the opportunity to see major health issues firsthand and understand strategies aimed at addressing them. Many of my supervising doctors and are still great mentors for me now. I certainly recommend applying for the Lynn Kratcha scholarship and Weipa as a rural placement site to everyone,” Eric says.
Eric recently shared more about the range of practical tasks and procedures he was able to perform, his key learnings from the experience, and his advice for this year’s recipients…