Students sad to say goodbye

JCU graduate doctors Lily Aboud and Annabelle Faint on placement in Longreach in 2021.

Now James Cook University graduates, Dr Annabelle Faint and Dr Kane Langdon said they had the time of their lives as student doctors in the Central West in their final year of medical school.

Dr Faint, from Buderim, graduated in December after spending a total of five months at Longreach Hospital in 2021.

Her one regret?

Not spending her entire sixth year in the west.

“Being in a small community, you really felt that you were part of a team,” she said.

“I wish in hindsight I had spent the whole year in Longreach.

“I loved Longreach, and I would definitely see myself going back there.”

All JCU medical students do at least 20 weeks of rural placements during their degree as part of JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry’s commitment to building a fit-for-purpose medical workforce for underserved communities in Queensland.

Highlights of Dr Faint’s extended placement at Longreach included delivering a baby on her birthday and flying to Birdsville on outreach for a week as part of the Covid response team for a pop-up clinic at the Big Red Bash.

“I think that at JCU you’re shaped as a doctor just purely based on the experiences we’re given,” she said.

“The more you go rural, the more opportunities you have to step out of your comfort zone.”

Gladstone-raised Dr Langdon said he thoroughly enjoyed working in the Blackall Hospital Emergency Department and impressed staff with his enthusiasm, drive, and clinical knowledge.

Jumping headlong into the Central West’s busy winter social season endeared him to a friendly community on his 10-week placement, with outreach to Tambo.

“My rural placements have been one of the biggest influences on my perspectives as a medical student,” Dr Langdon said.

“Especially at the smaller sites, they’re a unique opportunity to learn directly from practising medical professionals who are often exceptionally good at what they do.

“It has been during these placements that I have made the largest improvements in terms of my practical skills as a student doctor.

“I chose to go to the Central West because I had experienced the people out there as very welcoming.“

He said the presentations that came into the ED at Blackall were varied and interesting.

“So not only was it good on the social and community side, there was some really interesting medicine as well,” he said.

Dr Langdon also graduated from JCU with a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) in addition to receiving the Dr David Graham Prize for achieving the highest marks in the surgery components of his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.

Professor Sarah Larkins, Dean, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry, said JCU was proud to train doctors “from, in, with, and for rural, regional and remote communities”.

“Around 70 per cent of our students come from rural, regional or remote backgrounds, three-quarters of JCU medicine graduates ‘go rural’ after graduation, and almost half of our graduates are now generalist practitioners, far more than any other university in the country,” Professor Larkins said.

She said despite graduating just 2.4 per cent of the national output of doctors, around 50 per cent of rural, regional and remote doctors in Queensland were JCU graduates.