17 Feb Making Memories in Kingaroy
I’m not an outdoorsy kinda gal. I like having access to everything I need right outside my doorstep and the thought of repeatedly running into my neighbours at the supermarket truly unnerves me. So, if you’d told me that one day I’d fall in love with living in a small country town, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you. Anyway, it turns out that’s exactly what happened.
Last summer I spent two weeks in Kingaroy Hospital, as part of QRME’s Summer Observership Program (now RuralMedEd). And let me just say, I had THE BEST time ever. During the observership, I spent each day shadowing some amazing generalists as they as they juggled a bustling ED, navigated their way through wards and reassured pregnant mums in antenatal clinic. I watched as doctors inserted chest drains, managed myocardial infarctions and sutured gaping lacerations, all whilst in a limited-resource setting. I even got to see the hospital’s first ever on-site CT take place! But not only did I have the chance to observe medicine being practiced in real-time, I also had the opportunity to get involved and gain some hands-on experience. I took histories on my own, performed cannulations and helped plaster broken legs, just to name a few.
Every patient I encountered taught me something new, as did every doctor. In fact, I can’t say enough about the doctors I met. Each one was invested in my learning, taking time out of their day to explain important concepts, even amidst mountains of paperwork and a never-ending stream of patients. However, it’s not just the doctors that I won’t forget.
After a long day in ED, Kingaroy House was always a delight to come home to. It was here that I bonded with some awesome fellow med students and made new friends that made my experience all the more enjoyable. If you happen to be placed at Kingaroy, prepare yourself for some long hours at the hospital. But when you’re not busy getting amongst all the action, I highly recommend that you explore the local attractions. Beautiful Bunya Mountains is only a short drive away and is a must-see! Go on a hike and enjoy the cool climate before visiting the Whipbird Café to grab one of their famous milkshakes. And since you’re in Kingaroy, the Peanut Capital of Australia, your trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous Peanut Van! (If you didn’t try the peanuts, did you even go to Kingaroy?)
During my time in Kingaroy, I was lucky enough to experience both the old hospital as well as the new Kingaroy Hospital (the shift occurred during my placement). And let me tell you, the new hospital is a stunner – it’s so modern and fresh that it’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of Kingaroy as opposed to Brisbane or the Gold Coast. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’m jealous of the students placed there this year.
All in all, this experience was above and beyond what I’d imagined.
Tl;dr: Are you tired of staring at textbooks all day? Want to get some clinical experience before third year? The Summer Observership Program is a fantastic opportunity to not only get a taste of what life will be like during clinical years, but also a chance to find out whether the Longlook program is for you. So, if you’re keen to see what rural medicine is like for yourself, keep your eyes peeled for announcements in the latter half of the year!
More information about the Summer Observership Program can be found here: https://ruralmeded.org.au/courses/rural-stream/summer-observership/
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Image sources: K Asplett, S Wathiq