My extended rural placement

When I applied to Thursday Island in the Torres Strait for the Extended Placement Program, I anticipated developing my clinical skills, alongside my beach and fishing skills. What I didn’t expect, was to feel so integrated into the medical team and community that I didn’t want to leave. Becoming part of a neighbourhood and discovering the ways in which your work adds to the community is a very satisfying role, and part of what we refer to as the ‘rural advantage’. 

The locals are proud to just show-off their stunningly beautiful, and usually unseen, corner of this country. And it is breath-taking. 

Aside from expanding your perspective, exposure to rural areas also improves your medical skills. Clinically, one of the biggest thrills of my time here has been utilising basic ultrasound skills to assess patients’, insert cannulas, and the occasional nerve blocks. Presentations that are rare in metropolitan hospitals, can be common occurrence here. I’ve seen melioidosis, TB, elephantiasis, rheumatic heart disease, and many other presentations. I’ve treated shark and snake bites, and even seen a case of necrotising fasciitis! 

Attending a rural clinical school gives you an advantage, as does attending an extended placement program. If you can tolerate the discomfort of being away from home for a short time, the benefit on your professional development, along with your personal development and perspective, is worth every bit. It is an incredible opportunity and I would not hesitate to recommend it highly enough. 

Ms Lauren Chimes 

Last updated:
2 March 2018