Part of paediatric training involves rural experience, so I was pleased with my allocation to Dubbo Base Hospital in New South Wales, where I recently completed a six-month rural paediatric placement. Looking back over my time in Dubbo, the experience was everything I had hoped for, with additional memorable highlights.
The hospital was a busy environment with a wide range of presenting cases and patients often travelling significant distances for care. As a trainee, I was given the chance to develop and consolidate skills in a supportive environment. The individualised response to the learning process was a very valuable and positive experience. In this spirit, I was also able to share my skills with medical students just starting out on their medical careers.
The facilities staff were lovely, which was huge for someone like me, finding myself far from family during this term. The people of Dubbo were warm and open and would happily recommend the best coffee or breakfast places to anyone who obviously didn’t know yet.
In between my shifts during this term, I did manage to squeeze in some of the sights in and around Dubbo.
I had learned at school in rural Victoria about the historic Old Dubbo Gaol and the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, so I was curious to finally see them for myself. And, having undertaken an elective with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in Western Australia, the RFDS Visitor Centre was the first place I visited on my first day off.
Indeed, I took away many happy memories of my time: one of which is a highly recommended gentle, happy encounter with the meerkats at Dubbo Zoo!
Since my paediatric rotation at Dubbo Hospital, I have been working in Sydney at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. I am currently in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Patients from Dubbo and surrounding towns do occasionally come for treatment to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead so I feel I have not lost my connection with Dubbo and the rich environment of rural medicine I had a chance to experience.