Rural Clinical School alumni Paolo De Guzman returns to Narrogin on secondment from Perth

Headshot of Isabel Vieira
Isabel VieiraNarrogin Observer
Resident medical officer Paolo De Guzman
Camera IconResident medical officer Paolo De Guzman Credit: supplied

Resident medical officer Paolo De Guzman, a Rural Clinical School alumni, has returned to work at the Narrogin Health Service on a secondment from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Mr De Guzman formed a soft spot for the southern Wheatbelt town during his penultimate year of study as a Rural Clinical School student at the regional hospital.

The 10-week secondment is part of WA Country Health Service’s community residency program which allows resident medical officers to complete terms in rural clinical centres such as Narrogin.

Mr De Guzman jumped at the chance to return to Narrogin to further develop his skills as a junior doctor.

“I was in Narrogin for the whole year, it was a bit of a transitional time for the hospital and the rural clinical school in 2018,” he said.

“I was here with three other students who are now all close colleagues and friends.

“I met very good mentors that I got to look up to and many of them are now my colleagues.”

Mr De Guzman grew up in metropolitan Melbourne and moved to WA to complete his medical studies.

He said he preferred the more relaxed lifestyle of living and working in regional WA.

“Growing up in the city you would be walking down the street and you would keep bumping shoulders with people because it’s so crowded,” he said.

“I really like the community of regional or rural towns, everyone’s very inviting, supportive and hospitable.

“It’s quite a stark contrast to how I grew up but I really prefer it.”

Resident medical officer Paolo De Guzman
Camera IconResident medical officer Paolo De Guzman Credit: supplied

Mr De Guzman is pursuing a rural generalist pathway and hopes to work in a regional town like Narrogin.

“Right now in the city we rotate around different specialties and sub-specialties and my hospital in the city is a specialised cancer hospital,” he said.

“What I actually seek in my career, from what I’ve experienced so far, is that I want more of a broader medical practice and that’s including general practice and some hospital medicine as well.

“I’m looking into the rural generalist pathway because I want to break out of that mould of specialist medicine where everything is very narrow in terms of your scope of practice.”

A new crop of Rural Clinical School students have just begun their third year of study at the Narrogin Health Campus.

During his first stint in Narrogin, Mr De Guzman immersed himself in the community by refereeing local basketball games.

He said his advice to the new students would be to make the most of the year and get involved in the town.

“I would definitely advise them to really dive into town and seek out opportunities to interact and be really involved in the community,” he said.

“Because of the proximity between Narrogin and Perth some of my colleagues would go to Perth often and just come back during the week.

“The main thing is to get very involved in community, including sports because that’s a very big thing in small communities.”

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