Medical graduate thankful for lessons in Toowoomba

21 Dec 2020

Five years ago, David Lui had finished his Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and was accepted to study medicine with The University of Queensland.

UQRCS Toowoomba Year 4 medical student David Liu with wife Catherine and son Sammy
UQRCS Toowoomba Year 4 medical student David Liu with wife Catherine and son Sammy 

This week, he is one of the 35, Year 4 students based at UQ Rural Clinical School (UQRCS) Toowoomba, graduating with a Doctor of Medicine (MD).

In 2009, David moved to Toowoomba to take up an Occupational Therapist position. Inspired by his doctor colleagues and with the backing of his family and friends, David took on the challenge to become a doctor himself.

“I have always wanted to work in healthcare since childhood and as a devoted Christian, I am keen to care for the sick and people who are disadvantaged,” he said.

Despite studying the first two years in Brisbane, coming back to Toowoomba had always been on the cards for David professionally and personally.

“I completed my First Year Observership with the Renal Department in Toowoomba Hospital and was accepted to complete my clinical placements with UQRCS Toowoomba in Year 3 and Year 4,” he said.

“Talking to some of my friends who were placed in major cities, I realized I have a lot more opportunities to practice hands-on skills in a regional hospital.

“I have also been fortunate to have a lot of one-on-one time with the consultants and senior doctors,” he said.

Not only has Toowoomba been a safe learning environment for David, it’s also become home for his wife Catherine and son, ‘Sammy’ [Samuel].

“During my MD journey I got married and we welcomed our first son while I was completing my third year of studies.

“Having grown up in a busy metropolitan city like Hong Kong, I really enjoy the space, lovely gardens and quietness in Toowoomba.

“If you are a student or upcoming doctor, don't be intimidated by the word rural. Give it a try.

“Take a drive to Toowoomba and check out the town or talk to people who have had an experience here. The lessons have been invaluable,” he said.

Of the 35 students graduating in Toowoomba, David is one of the eight students to be accepted to intern with the Toowoomba Base Hospital in 2021. 

UQRCS Toowoomba Director, Dr George Tucker says that students attending the UQRCS quickly become aware their experience is richer in many ways than most of their metropolitan colleagues.

“Students find patients are interested in them as people, not just as students or future doctors who will be involved with their care.

“They find there are more opportunities for being taught hands-on skills in clinical areas such as hospital departments.

“Funding by the Australian Government via the Department of Health to establish and maintain Rural Clinical Schools across Australia has been critical to the success of the program as evidenced by tracking studies which show that students who train in rural and regional areas are more likely to remain in or return to rural and regional areas following vocational training after graduation.

“UQRCS Toowoomba accepted the first cohort of students in 2002 and is preparing for the next intake of Year 3 and Year 4 MD students on 11 January with our ongoing desire to continue the great work that has been achieved by the staff of UQRCS and the Darling Downs and South West Hospital and Health Services in teaching the doctors of the future,” he said.