UWA medical students embrace country practice at Narrogin

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Rural medical school students Travis Papalia, Kiara Smallwood, Sam Riley and Eimile Humphreys will spend time at the Narrogin Hospital until November.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer
Camera IconRural medical school students Travis Papalia, Kiara Smallwood, Sam Riley and Eimile Humphreys will spend time at the Narrogin Hospital until November.Picture: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer

Four medical students from the University of WA will spend this year in Narrogin learning and working with regional doctors.

Sam Riley, Kiara Smallwood, Eimile Humphreys and Travis Papalia are all third-year medical students who have been placed at Narrogin’s Rural Clinical School.

The students will build on their skills and relationships with the Narrogin Hospital and GP clinics.

Mr Riley said he applied after hearing positive reviews.

“So many people have told me about the Rural Clinical School and the overall opinion was that you’d be a better clinician at the end of it, compared to a similar experience in the metro hospitals where you can often get lost,” he said.

Mr Papalia said they had been made aware of WA’s regional doctor shortage.

“There’s a big emphasis from the uni and student body to go rural,” he said.

“There’s always more applicants than there are spots so that’s a good sign that hopefully our generation will have lots of doctors going to country.”

However, Mr Riley said this was not always the case.

“Just because people do Rural Clinical School doesn’t mean they go rural, but there is an incentive to go rural once we finish the program,” he said.

Ms Smallwood said lots of people want to stay in Perth.

“A lot of the training programs are in Perth but I think these bonded medical programs do try and get students to go rural at some point,” she said.

Mr Papalia spent a lot of time growing up in Collie and is used to the sense of community.

“A lot of people write off going rural without actually trying it, but once you take people out of their comfort zone and into an environment we will be experiencing this year, they realise how much they love it,” he said.

Although only having arrived in Narrogin just over a week ago, Ms Humphreys said she was already aware of some of the differences between country and city.

“In the city there are more specialists, so it’s more specialised and segmented, whereas here, everything’s a lot more integrated and generalised in the practice here,” she said.

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