UOW medical students right at home in Mudgee
University of Wollongong third year medical students who do their 38-week clinical placement in Mudgee are feeling right at home after the opening of a five-bedroom house for them to use during their rotation in the central western NSW town.
Mudgee House was built for UOW’s Graduate School of Medicine in partnership with Club Mudgee, Moolarben Coal, Mid-Western Regional Council and Peabody-Wilpinijong Coal, who have all contributed in various ways towards the project.
The student doctors will use the house during their 38-week rural rotation in Mudgee, where they spend time in general practice, the local hospital and other community-based health care settings.
With five bedrooms, the house has been designed to cater for singles or couples and families as the situation requires.
Speaking at the opening, UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said building the accommodation for UOW’s medical students has been a true community partnership, with the people of Mudgee contributing in all kinds of ways to bring the project from concept to reality.
“We are extremely grateful to you all, and we’re sure that our medical students will be grateful for many years to come,” Professor Wellings said. “Having such well-designed and comfortable accommodation for their 38-week stay in Mudgee will certainly enhance their experience in your town.
“Obviously we all hope that this home will help build connections between your community and our medical students, and encourage some of them to consider returning to Mudgee to practise medicine when they are fully qualified.”
Medical student Vanessa Hewitt spoke at the opening on behalf of the three GSM students currently based in Mudgee, thanking the community for providing the house.
“On behalf of … the first lucky residents of this house, and the medical students to come here in the future, thank you to the local council and to all the sponsors, who have given so much and to (GSM Dean) Professor (Alison) Jones and the Graduate School of Medicine staff who pushed the idea and worked tirelessly to have the project finished on time,” Vanessa said.
“The big word that comes to mind is privilege, We feel so incredibily privileged to have this opportunity in Mudgee. While we are here we are taking every opportunity to learn how to care for patients, work with others and hone our clinical skills that are so evidently important in a rural setting.
“Over the past few weeks I've learnt that there are many challenges working in a country town with limited manpower and technological resources but it is also very rewarding and stimulating, and we are lucky to have really dedicated mentors and supportive nursing and allied health staff.”
Professor Wellings said UOW opened the GSM in 2007 with a specific vision to train excellent doctors interested in working in regional, rural and remote areas, to help address the unacceptable imbalance between medical services and facilities in Australian capital cities and the services available to people in the bush.
“Fifty-seven percent of the students in our Graduate School of Medicine come from regional communities. This is a great statistic because we feel that these people will be more likely to seek opportunities to practise medicine in regional and rural areas,” he said.
The long-term clinical placement rotation of third year students in communities across regional NSW is a key component of the course’s focus on training doctors for regional and rural communities.
Professor Wellings praised the GSM’s Regional Academic leader in Mudgee, Dr Gary Moore, for his role in mentoring the GSM students and instigating the house project.