Monash medical students’ placement in Sale

Medical students were on placement in Sale last week. Photos: Contributed

SOME of the 86 second-year Monash University medical students have visited four Gippsland locations on a one-week rural placement.

Students have come to understand the challenges and experiences of rural medical professionals in Sale, Bairnsdale, Traralgon and Warragul.

The clinical educator for Central Gippsland Health Service, Prue Berry, said the aim is to try and attract the future medical workforce.

“The students are in their pre-clinical years, so this is a way to give them a taste of what’s to come and to promote Gippsland, so some of the students will choose to do their placement next year in Sale,” she said.

“We want to strongly promote Gippsland so that, hopefully, the students will consider a career here because there’s a massive shortage of medical professionals in rural areas.”

Although there’s no Wellington Shire-specific stat, a La Trobe University study in Melbourne found there are 409 clinicians for every 100,000 people in Melbourne, but in some rural areas, that stat is at 150 clinicians for every 100,000 people.

To combat this, the state government is trying to attract a new workforce through incentives such as the VRMS scheme, which is a state government-funded scholarship valued at $20,000 available to final-year medical students in Victoria if they commit to two years of service in a rural area.

Last week in Sale, 11 students stayed at the Comfort Inn, and for many of them, it was their first exposure to regional life.

One thing they did was a two-hour Suturing workshop tutored by Nandrie Wassermann, who said it was about getting them excited to learn the skill.

This session is the first step in teaching the students proper stitching techniques using fake skin made from synthetic materials.

This program runs every year and has, in the past, attracted students to the region, such as Ashley Chng, who is one of the five third-year students doing a placement at Central Gippsland Health and considering a career in Sale.

“I think I chose it because I just liked the quiet. And the hospital was smaller, which meant I could get to know the team better,” she said.

After this workshop, the students visited Maffra to simulate bush retrieval and learn the complexities of operating in an isolated environment.

The students have also spent time at a cultural trail around Lake Guthridge, with time also dedicated to visiting Central Gippsland Health, a local GP and an Ambulance Victoria station.

Students learnt stitching techniques using fake skin.