Graduating medical students thankful to Wide Bay community for their support

20 Dec 2021

As they don mortar boards this Saturday, graduating medical students Hannah Witten and Sam Golter are thankful for the sense of belonging that The University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS) Hervey Bay staff and the wider community gifted to them throughout their time as students in the region.

Hannah and Sam are two of 12 Year 4 students based at UQRCS Hervey Bay, graduating with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) this week.

Hannah says while the thought of moving from Brisbane was a little frightening in the beginning, she was able to build strong friendships straight away and believes the care and compassion she received helped her stay focused throughout her studies.

“I didn’t initially preference for a placement at the Rural Clinical School but after spending my third year in Bundaberg and realising how much more hands on experience I was getting, requesting to study in Hervey Bay for my final year seemed like a great decision.

Hannah says she has lived a much more active lifestyle in Hervey Bay and is thankful for being given the opportunity to be part of community events.

“I go to the beach every day, I play frisbee with other students on Sundays and participate in Parkrun; I’ve been much more engaged and lived a more balanced life during my time here,” she said.

For Sam, embracing a new environment was something he knew well, after growing up between Canada and Australia, then working abroad for many years.

“After returning to Australia and being accepted through the postgrad channels, my med school mates and I decided that spending our final years of studies in a regional setting would be an adventure.

“I got a concrete grasp of medicine in my final years and learnt that in the regional areas, people are so incredibly grateful for your help because the demand for doctors here is so high; that is one of the reasons I applied for and was accepted to be an intern in Hervey Bay next year,” he said.

Head of UQRCS, Associate Professor Riitta Partanen says that the Rural Clinical School presents a wonderful opportunity for medical students to build their skills and confidence to become well rounded doctors who want to make a difference to the wellbeing of the community.

“Our students experience the full gamut of health care in the regional areas which places them in good stead to not only practice kindness and compassion, but to think critically and advocate for better health outcomes for their patients.

“Congratulations to our graduating students; you should be incredibly proud of your efforts and we look forward to seeing you grow in the medical field,” she said.

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