Near to Peer Cluster Support Program

The Near to Peer Cluster Support Program has been developed to build networks of support for medical students and junior doctors while in rural or regional areas. Our program is a vertically integrated model, which consists of cluster groups of third and fourth year UQ medical students, Intern, RMO, PHO/Registrar and SMO levels from Rockhampton Hospital. 

The aim to enhance the student, intern and junior doctor experience and support everyone to reach their potential by providing a program that supports the development of social connections, and the sharing of knowledge through lived experience.

Rural & Remote Medicine

Rural & Remote Medicine is a discipline based upon a mode of practice which provides high quality of care in rural and remote communities, responding to the communities’ health needs. While the knowledge and skills may be drawn from multiple areas of medicine, it is their application in the rural context across different levels of care from primary through to tertiary, with a defined set of professional values and body of knowledge, that mark rural and remote medical practice as a distinct discipline. 

The Rural & Remote Medicine course provides a unique opportunity for medical students to understand and experience the rewards, benefits and challenges of clinical practice amongst population groups and/or in communities that face access and equity challenges associated with health service delivery. Students are encouraged to be active, valuable trainee members of the health care team rather than passive learners. Students participate in the CCP (RRM) Preparation Week at a rural location at the beginning of each semester, which includes comprehensive integrated teachings from the Disciplines of Rural & Remote Medicine, General Practice and Mental Health.

Rural & Remote Medicine

Extended rural placements

The Extended Placement Program (EPP) offers a longer rural exposure to students in Year 3 of the UQ MD Program who have a keen interest in rural practice. The students undertake the General Practice and Rural & Remote Medicine placements back to back in the same rural location. They experience medicine in a rural context whilst becoming an integral member of the community and the local health care team. 

Students who have participated in the EPP say the experience strengthens their desire to practice in a rural area, as it allows them to build confidence in their clinical skills through hands-on learning and it enhances their knowledge of rural medicine through providing continuity of care over a period of time.

For more information, head to the TROHPIQ website.

Rural experiences

Throughout the four year UQ MD Program, TROHPIQ (Towards Rural and Outback Health Professionals in Queensland) and the UQRCS work together to provide rural experiences to complement the formal medical curriculum. 

The highly successful TROHPIQ weekend site excursions provide students with a taste of living and working at a UQRCS site and offers a valuable recruitment opportunity for the sites. Rural Experience (REx) Rockhampton is a four day experiential program for year two medical students that provides an opportunity to experience living, learning and working in Rockhampton. OSBEE at Hervey Bay, saw a group of 25 students bussed to Susan River Homestead where they worked through a number of emergency bush scenarios and other bush related clinical skills stations, including Queensland Ambulance Services (QAS) involvement. 

Intern readiness

At the conclusion of a medical degree, students have acquired the clinical knowledge and skills required to be competent and safe interns. Whilst students spend a lot of time in the wards observing clinicians, participating in ward rounds and learning procedural skills, the focus at these times is learning the clinical medicine, not how to be an effective junior doctor. At the UQRCS we have an additional focus on producing work-ready, patient-centred doctors. 

The Intern Preparedness Program aims to develop skills necessary to do the work of an intern. This blended learning model includes eLearning resources and a face-to-face workshop. The eLearning component includes interactive case based online modules that are undertaken before the workshop. At the face-to-face workshop students participate in a mock ward round via video, complete the paperwork required from the ward round which is followed by small group discussions with current interns. Following completion of the program, students feel more confident in understanding the daily tasks and roles of an intern, the roles of the team members, time management and prioritisation of tasks, importance of effective clinical communications skills and knowing how and when to seek help.


SILVER-Q is an interprofessional, multi-disciplinary teaching and learning program. In an immersive, simulated ward or emergency department environment, students from different disciplines work together using clinical problem solving skills and knowledge to assess the situation, make a diagnosis and implement a management plan for their “patient/s” (local actors). Junior doctors who were former students and local senior clinicians from a variety of health professions teach into the SILVER-Q program. 

The aims of the program are to assist participating students to: 

  • Transition into the health care workforce as safe and confident graduates at a level of work readiness 
  • Develop a better understanding of their own role within a health care team 
  • Develop a better understanding of the role of other health care providers in the team