This database is compiled from student submissions and in no way represents the views of the JCU COMD. This is produced by JCUMSA based entirely on student submissions.

Please choose from the towns below for reviews from JCU students about their experiences during Year 2 rural placement:


Queensland New South Wales Northern Territory Victoria New Zealand
Mount Isa
Thursday Island
Katherine Wonthaggi Hawera



Babinda Multi Purpose Health Centre

Specialties? GP, gen med

Clinical opportunities? Ward rounds, suturing, venesection, cannulation, cleaning out ears (for wax), punch biopsy, shave biopsy, excisional biopsy

Accommodation & facilities? In 2012 (unsure if accommodation set up is still the same) the accommodation was arranged through JCU. It involved staying in the house of a local paramedic. It was a small house, you had your own bedroom and shared the bathroom and kitchen with the house owner and other medical student on placement.
The facilities were very basic – I think there was internet access. No pool. No gym. The basic necessities. Shared living area with a TV.
I only stayed at this accommodation for one week before staying with family friends in nearby Innisfail. If I had a choice, I would not choose to stay in this accommodation.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 4pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were great – the doctors who worked there were a combination of full time and locum doctors. They were all very happy to have us sit in on GP consultations, and proactive with getting us involved.
The practice nurse was very helpful with clinical skills and organised suturing for us with pig trotters. As a second year student this was fantastic!

Other activities you would recommend? There is actually a lot to do in this area, and it is close to both Cairns and Innisfail! Highlights include: Babinda Boulders, Josephine Falls, Bramston Beach, Cairns and local attractions.
Cost? Nothing! JCU provides a travel subsidy, and the accommodation (from memory) was not charged for. Just need to pay for normal living expenses (ie food)

Best bits of your placement? Attractions around the area. Being able to perform some clinical skills such as suturing – the patients were generally very happy to be interacting with a student.

Rate the experience overall? 3/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? I would be more proactive with getting to know the staff, and becoming an integral aspect of the hospital and GP experience. I would make an effort to do notes on ward rounds, really get to know the patients, and treat it like a job – I think you could learn a lot.
It is easy to get into a rut and think ‘this is a boring small town’, but use the opportunity to develop other skills and practice more minor clinical skills.

Other comments or tips? Babinda is a very small hospital, and you spend the majority of your time in the general practice part of things. This can get boring after a while. Unfortunately because it is so close to Cairns and Innisfail, which are much bigger centres, the hospital is mainly used as a temporary facility for elderly patients who are waiting for spots in nursing homes.
However this can be used as a great learning experience as they all have lots of health problems you can learn from!



Bowen Hospital 

Specialties? GP, emergency

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, taking blood, history taking, examinations

Accommodation & facilities? Accommodation is 1 min walk to beach, 5 min walk to Woolworths, close to cafes, 10 min drive to hospital. Swimming pool available.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 1pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff are all approachable and available. Doctors were really engaging and asked lots of questions.

Other activities you would recommend? Superboats, Bowen Show, other beaches besides the one close by, markets (down the road from accommodation), Airlie Beach
Cost? $600 (including food and petrol)

Best bits of your placement? Getting to see how transferring patients to tertiary hospitals works from a rural town, seeing medical emergencies get treated in a rural setting

Rate the experience overall? 2/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? I would try to discuss with the doctors what I want to get out of this placement and ask about the scope that I could potentially have in the hospital.

Specialties? ED, general medical wards

Clinical opportunities? Blood taking, cannulation, ward rounds, physical exams, history taking, vital signs

Accommodation & facilities? None provided (and no wifi)

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm weekdays

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? They were all welcoming and willing to teach.

Other activities you would recommend? Many hills to go up and sightsee.

Cost? $600 (food and accommodation)

Rate the experience overall? 3/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

Bowen Hospital 


Specialities available: General Medicine, ED

Clinical opportunities: Very limited for a year 2 student. Lots of observation

Accommodation and facilities: Hospital accommodation next to Hospital. Old Queenslander, nicely renovated

Busiest time of day: Morning

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: House had asbestos in it

Approachable/availability of staff: Staff were approachable. Not many teaching opportunities

Other activities in the town: Horseshoe Bay Track. Beaches are amazing! Sunday markets

Best part of placement: Getting outdoors and seeing Bowen

Overall experience rating: 4/5

Teaching rating: 3/5

Other tips: Be proactive!




Charleville Hospital 

Specialties? GP, Theatre, ED, Radiology, Medical Ward, O&G

Clinical opportunities? Measuring blood glucose, history taking, cannula insertion, ECG, blood collection, ward rounds everyday with 
the doctors , discharge summaries , telemedicine, giving injections , plaster foot and leg/arm/hand, pap smears, examine x-rays, triage, wound care , packing wound, CPR, manual disimpaction, removal of stitches, eye examination , taking patients history on their 
presenting compliant, doctors plan and entering the information EDIS and Medical Director, urine dipstick, HCG tests, neuro exams, mortality & morbidity meetings with doctors, assisting in theatre
Accommodation & facilities? Nursing courters, nice and clean, shared bathroom and kitchen (might not always be clean). Accommodation free. WIFI available and free at accommodation site. 24 hour gym in Charleville, no Cinema.

Busiest time of the day? 8-5 pm and sometimes evenings

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? 90% of the staff was approachable. Show that you are a keen student and willing to help out. There are no permanent doctors there but nurses are permenant and they are great. The doctors are very keen to share their knowledge and I only encountered one visiting specialist doctor that I thought was non-approachable.

Other activities you would recommend? There is heaps to do and see. Social night was 2/3 times a week. Movies at the doc place, pub or just community events. Charleville has great history, so I did a lot of sightseeing and visiting the Cosmos centre is a must!!!!!
Cost? Flight are around $700 but gets reimbursed. Accommodation is free.

Best bits of your placement? Everything! Clinical experience, social life and sight seeing.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Know my anatomy!

Other tips? Just be approachable to all of the staff and friendly.



Dysart Medical Centre

Specialties? GP, Paediatrics, Ob/Gyn, Mental Health, Anaesthetics

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, venipuncture, suturing, history taking, immunisation, urinalysis, miner medical testing, baby checks, bandaging, minor procedures (biopsy, nail removal, small excision), home visits

Accommodation & facilities? Accommodation was provided. We stayed in a fully furnished, modern, 3 bedroom house, which was located on the same block as the hospital, and was directly around the corner from the GP. A supermarket was located directly across from the hospital. The town also had a library, bowls club (which also had a full kitchen and provided excellent meals), swimming pool, entertainment hall, and several places of worship. Everything is within easy walking distance.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Dysart is a small community so the only ethical issues that arose were being aware of patient confidentiality. I did not face any cultural or safety issues.

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were all incredibly helpful and willing to teach. Medical staff are limited in Dysart so students are valued as part of the workforce by staff and community members alike.

Other activities you would recommend? The Bowls Club was a great place for dinner and socialising. There was also a mining camp in the town, which we had the opportunity to visit, and was incredibly interesting. We attended many social events that were hosted by the schools in Dysart.

Cost? $200 (mainly spent on food and travel, accommodation was free)

Best bits of your placement? The clinical experience was second to none. Staff and members of the community were incredibly welcoming and made the entire placement a very enjoyable and educational experience.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? I was afraid of making mistakes or embarrassing myself if I did something wrong. If I could, I would approach placement with more confidence, knowing that the staff are welcoming and willing to teach, and that the community members are very open to students learning from them.

Other tips? Stock up on basic supplies before going. There is a supermarket in the town, but it is more pricey, with less range. Access to fresh fruit and veg was a big issue. Check with your phone provider if you will have coverage in Dysart. It would be a good idea to buy a new pre paid sim, and an Internet dongle that you can top up during your placement, as there is no WiFi available for students. Go to placement with an open mind. Medicine is practiced differently in smaller towns. They have fewer resources and often have to adapt quickly to difficult situations. There may be times when you are nervous or uncomfortable with what you are doing, but try to see it as a learning experience. That way, you will get the most out of your placement.



Dysart Hospital

Specialities available: A General Surgeon sometimes visit the medical centre. There are allied health services available at the hospital and medical centre. Hospital is a secondary facility with 9 beds. It doesn’t have an operating theater or any medical imaging other than X-ray.

Clinical opportunities: A variety of conditions just like any rural hospital. It really depends on what walks through the door. Most people in town works in mines, so the conditions can be related to social problems in mining communities and work related injury.

Accommodation and facilities: Modern facilities equipped with dishwasher, gas cooktops, washer and dryer. All accommodation areas are fully air conditioned. Despite what it says on the email we got, they did provide bedding for us, but we brought our own already. Sadly no eduroam wifi officially provided at the accommodation, but it’s available at the hospital. If you are lucky, you might get a room with some particular spots that you can get wifi signal on your laptop. A tip I can give would be staying close to the window facing hospital building. Connection can take a little while, but once connected, speed is pretty fast (similar to what you get at the hospital)


Only one supermarket in town, which is the IGA (a bit more expensive than big regional centres, but not unreasonable). The closest Coles is in Moranbah, which is about 1hr drive away.

Last thing I want to talk about is getting there. From Townsville, Bruce highway takes longer and has a lot more cars on it. I found it much easier to drive through Gregory Highway. Road condition was good and rarely any car uses it. I don’t know why people don’t like it. I found it to be much better than Bruce highway and wish I took Gregory highway down to Dysart when I drove down. My car can get from Townsville to Dysart with 3/4 tank of petrol, so I didn’t have to refuel. If your car is fuel hungry and can’t get to Dysart with a full tank, there is only one petrol station on Gregory Highway between Charters Tower and Dysart and it’s expensive. That’s the probably the only situation where Bruce Highway is better than Gregory Highway I suppose.

Busiest time of day: Depends. Some days you get basically nothing, but others can be busy at the hospital. The medical centre is always busy.

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: Nil. People are really friendly overall. It’s a lovely little town. However, I did not visit the side of town where the pub is. Cannot comment on any nightlife related safety issue.


Approachable/availability of staff: Nursing staff (including the DON) are really lovely and willing to teach. At a second year level, you will be learning/practicing more about basic procedural things and the best people to teach you would be the nurses, so make sure you follow them around and do things.

Other activities in the town: Bowl’s club is expensive, but close to the hospital and has pretty good food. People will tell you Dysart has nothing, but there are places to visit around: Lord’s table mountain, Bundoora Dam (Google maps only gets you to the main road next to the unnamed road actually takes you to the dam, talk to the nursing staff for direction before you go), Gemfields (close to Clermont. I heard it’s pretty fun, but I didn’t get to go since I ran out of time), Theresa Creek (close to Clermont), Lake Maraboon (close to Emerald)

Best part of placement: The overall experience was really positive. I was quite skeptic before I went as I was randomly allocated there without being on my preference list at all. I had a really good time and I’m sure you will too.

Overall experience rating: 5/5

Teaching rating: 5/5

What would you do differently: Nil, I think I took every opportunity I can to practice my clinical skills and observe


Other tips: Be proactive and ask if you can do stuff. Staff there will ask you to do things, but you gain more if you show that you are keen to learn.



Ingham Family Medical Practice

Specialties? GP, radiology, opthalmology

Clinical opportunities? History taking, suturing, using a retinal photography machine, taking CT scans, dressings, injections

Accommodation & facilities? The accomodation was really good, large living area and kitchen. Rooms were really nice too. There was a backyard, and a gym and pool nearby. The accomodation is with other med students so was quite rewarding spending time with peers.

Busiest time of the day? 9am – 5pm weekdays

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were incredibly friendly and close. Very approachable and invited me to events and dinners.

Other activities you would recommend? I went on a road trip with my GP up to Innisfail seeing the sights along the way. There’s a scenic home near Ingham too. And there are a few beaches nearby worth spending the day at. There are several pubs to eat at and socialise in too.

Cost? $100

Best bits of your placement? Just spending time with the GPs. I particularly enjoyed looking at the CT scans as we took them as there is a CT machine on site. Also the road trip was a lot of fun. And the patients were all so friendly to interact with.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Brush up on clinical skills.


Ingham Hospital

Specialties? GP, emergency, med wards

Clinical opportunities? Hospital: emergency (suturing, vital signs, venepuncture, cannulation, catheterisation, history taking, X-rays, ECG, medication admin, putting on and removing plaster casts), community midwife consultations, day surgery (endoscopy and gastroscopy), ward rounds, mental health consultations, Aboriginal Health Worker consultations, telehealth consultations (oncology, obstetrics)
GP clinics: mostly observing consultations, but some opportunities for assisting/performing examinations such as vital signs, ear/eye exams, breast exams, pap smears, skin excisions.

Accommodation & facilities? Accomodation is a couple of flats with 2 students per flat. Each flat has 2 bedrooms, lounge room with TV and couch, bathroom, kitchen, balcony. Flats are upstairs, with undercover parking beneath. Fairly old and a bit grubby, but has all the basics. Not many kitchen utensils etc. No pool/gym etc. Literally a 2 minute walk from the hospital, although a car is useful for one of the GP clinics (Ingham Family Medical) as its a bit of a walk.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 4pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Helpful as long as you ask questions and appear interested.

Other activities you would recommend? Not much ‘night-life’. We had dinner at one of the GP’s houses, dinner at the Tyto restaurant with the other medical students, and met up at the pub with the interns and medical students. There are a lot of nice camping spots around the area, Wallaman Falls is definitely worth a visit, the Tyto wetlands is nice for walks and bird watching.

Cost? About $500 for accommodation (I think)

Best bits of your placement? The other medical students, I made some great friends! The area was beautiful, camping and Wallaman Falls were awesome! The staff were mostly lovely, although you have to make a real effort to ask questions and take the initiative to ask if you can do something/assist – they won’t come looking for you. The supervisor was really lovely and gave us a good session about suturing and ECG interpretation but he’s not around much. The nurses particularly were really helpful – be nice to them and offer to help with things like changing beds and they will teach you things that doctors don’t. There was an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander awareness workshop which was interesting, and a resuscitation workshop which was really useful. The community midwives were awesome, we did some community visits with them and some consultations, and some telehealth conferences with the OB in Townsville which was all really interesting.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Be more involved!!! I was a bit afraid of being annoying or in the way and I stood back a bit. I wish I had taken more initiative in the beginning and asked to be included in more cases, taken more histories, presented more cases, ask to see more ECGs/Xrays etc. I was just really nervous as it was my first placement (I was a lateral entry student who started in second year).

Other tips? ASK and be involved!!! In particular ask the nurses if you can help them with stuff, they’re really good at teaching as they do things. Also, offer to go on a coffee run for them, they will love you!

Specialties? ED

Clinical opportunities? Suturing, cannulation, history taking, examinations

Accommodation & facilities? New accommodation now available.

Busiest time of the day? 7am – 3pm weekdays

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Our supervisor was very nice. He made sure to show patients to us and gave a ‘complimentary’ plane ride. Other doctors weren’t as approachable.

Cost? Free

Best bits of your placement? Plane ride from our supervisor

Rate the experience overall? 3/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5

Other comments? Not much patient inflow. There were lots of MVAs.



Mareeba Hospital 

Specialties? Gen Med, O&G, Rehab

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, attending theatre, ward rounds, performing examinations, suturing, history taking

Accommodation & facilities? Good accommodation – big house, lots of room, close to the hospital

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 12pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were keen to teach and very approachable. They loved having students around to help out.

Other activities you would recommend? Lots to do in nearby towns, markets, creeks and waterfalls, wildlife, bush walks, sight seeing, plenty of good places to eat food and coffee

Cost? $600-700

Best bits of your placement? Getting clinical experience and seeing some more of the country.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

Specialties? Rural generalism with focuses on anaesthetics, paediatrics, dermatology, surgery and more. Also was able to experience general practice, midwifery and community health.

Clinical opportunities? Suturing, taking blood, cannulation, history taking, vital signs

Accommodation & facilities? Accommodation was JCU organised and costed $80/wk. Linens were provided. The house was 8 bedrooms, walking distance from the hospital. Other JCU students stayed in the house (6th years on their rural term at the time of my placement). The house had fast wifi (eduroam) and is also walking distance from the main town centre, containing shops, fast food stores and more.

Busiest time of the day? We started at 8am every day. We were allowed to choose where to go (e.g. on the wards or to the ED). Evenings or weekends were optional.

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were very approachable and available – it seemed to be like a small family with each staff member in close communication with another. All of the staff were extremely friendly.

Other activities you would recommend? Definitely catch up with other students doing placement in the tablelands (e.g. Atherton which is ~20 min away). Mareeba has a drive-in cinema worth going to. Cairns is ~45 min away and makes a good weekend trip (stay at a backpackers). The stars are amazing at Mareeba, drive a bit out of town and go stargazing, Mareeba is one of the highest elevated towns. There are a nice line of pubs (The Anthill is the most famous) on the main street). Check out the coffee farm. Granite gorge is a nice walk where you can feed rock wallabies.

Cost? $320 accommodation. ~$250 groceries. ~$300 leisurely activities.

Best bits of your placement? The best bits were the clinical cases we got to see that we would not have seen anywhere else. Also, being in a rural place for a month with other students, you get really close and make strong friendships!

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Although we were able to get pretty involved with the community (went to the public school to educate, visited the Men’s shed for their monthly meeting), it would have been nicer to be a bit more involved and help out!

Other tips? Get your rural diary sorted early. For example we had a ‘preventative programs’ section. We went straight to community health, asked the staff about programs they had and they told us all about it and even gave us flyers. ASK to do clinical things that you’ve learned, it’ll help you get better at communicating with patients and performing procedures. If you don’t know what someone is talking about, tell them. You’re a second year student, you’re not expected to know too much clinically and the staff at Mareeba are more than willing to help and explain things! Have fun! Make the most of your placement, it will go by SO quickly and you will miss it. If you do your placement mid-year, make the most of the 2-week break you get. You’ll burn out in second semester if you don’t.


Mount Isa

Mount Isa Base Hospital 

Specialties? Gen Med

Clinical opportunities? General Medicine ward round opportunities such as examinations and histories, cannulation and bloods rounds, attending radiology teaching sessions and teaching. There were also some simulation sessions run by MICCRH which ranged from snake bites, CPR and airway management.

Accommodation & facilities? There are a few options available at Mount Isa for placements at the hospital – all of them are within walking distance but in many cases you will find yourself driving because of the heat. All accommodation has air conditioning, the main set of units (4 separate units joined by a set of stairs) also feature a communal TV room and BBQ with an outdoor picnic table. The other options are three separate houses which have ~4 bedrooms each.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 4pm

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Staff were very available. The consultants that ran the general medicine team were more than happy to have you involved in clinics and regularly ran 1 on 1 teaching sessions during these clinics.

Other activities you would recommend? I had a 4WD that I used every weekend to go on adventures with other students. If you can manage to take a 4WD I would highly recommend it – from there you just need to ask some locals for a good mud map and you’re set! Otherwise, we spent a lot of time having afternoon BBQ’s and hanging out with other students from the 4 unit accomodation. Lake Moondarra is also a fantastic place to go for a swim and afternoon BBQ.
There are a few options for night life but most of them are inaccesible without a car – especially fun was the live music held somewhat out of town every second Friday. Similarly, the lawn bowls has an all-you-can-eat BBQ every week that costs ~$12 for food and games all night.

Cost? $1500

Best bits of your placement? Going 4WD’ing & getting out into the outback of rural QLD. The hospital is very friendly!

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

Other tips? Car pool out there – you’re only going to need 1 car between a house.

Specialties? Surgery, GP, Medicine, Paediatrics, etc

Clinical opportunities? Attending theatre, assisting operations in theatre, skin examination

Accommodation & facilities? Comfortable

Busiest time of the day? 7am – 6pm

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Very good and approachable.

Other activities you would recommend? Visiting underground mining site, Aboriginal settlements and lake.

Cost? $1000

Best bits? I really enjoy attending the theatre!

Rate the experience overall? 3/5

Rate the teaching? 2/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Be more engaging with the doctors in term of seeking for more teaching.

Other tips? Rover more area in Mt Isa during the weekend.

Specialties? Outpatient, GP, Radiology, Ophalmology, ED (others available)

Clinical opportunities? Not much hands on (for second years), clinics, experience with the radiologist

Accommodation & facilities? Good and free – bring your own bedding and everything though

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Had some issues where one doctor was unprofessional and had difficulties attending outpatients when our supervisor was on leave

Other activities you would recommend? Lots to do, we did underground and above ground mining tours, best rural ever.

Cost? I went by plane so there was a bit out of pocket.

Best bits? Good company and fun stuff to do on rural.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Try to spend more time with inpatients.



Moura Community Hospital


Specialities available: ED and GP

Clinical opportunities: Suturing, cannulating, blood drawing, performing ECG, independently seeing patients to take history and perform specialised examinations

Accommodation and facilities: Small house with no internet

Busiest time of day: In the morning at the clinic

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: No

Approachable/availability of staff: Extremely

Other activities in the town: Getting involved in local squash and rugby club. Visiting nearby farm who are friends with practice owner

Best part of placement: The autonomy I was given with seeing patients and performing examinations. First time suturing on a team mate from the local rugby club

Overall experience rating: 4/5

Teaching rating: 4/5

What would you do differently: Bring more movies and books

Other tips: Bring internet




Proserpine Hospital

Specialties? Gen Surg, O&G, Mental Health

Clinical opportunities? Attending theatre (day surgeries), cannulation, venepuncture, suturing

Accommodation & facilities? At the JCU accommodation (not hospital accommodation) the accommodation was of a very high quality and looked new. The townhouse complex was quiet and a 5 min drive from hospital with one double storey townhouse having 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. There was also a pool in the complex. The townhouse was fully furnished and had good amounts of cooking equipment (but not much for baking). Eduroam wifi available.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 4.30pm weekdays

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff at the hospital were very friendly and approachable and actively invited us to see and do and get involved in things.

Other activities you would recommend? I would recommend if you have a car going and visiting the nearby Airlie Beach area as the things to do in Prosperine itself are limited. The nearby Cedar Creek falls and the Airlie Creek track walk were unexpected highlights.

Cost? $320 (accommodation)

Best bits of your placement? Highlights include seeing a number aeromedical retrievals, learning how to do venepunture and cannulate (with the help of the 6th years on rotation there) and getting to know the staff members and community.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? I would try and be more proactive and try to visit and introduce myself to the staff in the different areas of the hospital in the first week so I could involve myself in more than just the medical side of the hospital.

Other tips? All the petrol stations in the area shut early (even in Airlie Beach and Cannonvale) on the weekends so make sure you fuel up during the day



Richmond Hospital

Specialities available:  Long term elderly care, small ED (1 room)

Clinical opportunities: Lots and lots of suturing! Catheterisation, cannulation, ECG, phlebotomy…

Accommodation and facilities: Small self-contained unit with 2 bedrooms, beautiful front porch. WIFI and aircon.

Busiest time of day: Mornings usually! But generally the GP practice was busy all times of the day. Hospital was fairly quiet usually with maybe 1-2 acute care patients a day.

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: Ethically was sometimes difficult in a small town when every body you meet and become friends with is a patient! And you really see each patient out in the town numerous times!

Approachable/availability of staff: Nurses at the hospital were very kind and friendly, the doctor was also fantastic as were the staff at the clinic.

Other activities in the town: Kronosaurus Korner – local dinosaur and fossil museum! Definitely have a meal or two at the local pub – Mud hut hotel.

Best part of placement: Clinical experience being able to practice suturing a lot and having very fascinating patient histories to discuss. I also had a lot of fun in the community with its many events and friendly people.

Overall experience rating: 4/5

Teaching rating: 4/5

What would you do differently: Not a whole lot! I think I made the most out of meeting people and getting involved

Other tips: Definitely need a car, and bring along some entertainment for days when there is not a whole lot to do!



Specialities available: ONG, few surgeries, small but busy ED

Clinical opportunities: I was able to scrub into a few surgeries and hold scopes, insert an LMA, insert catheters, insert cannulas, suture, put on a few limb casts, practice charting. Pretty good for a second year placement!

Accommodation and facilities: Free accom provided at the nurses quarters onsite.

Busiest time of day:

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: Nil

Approachable/availability of staff: Staff were very keen to help and very happy for you to get your hands dirty. -They even ran little clinical skills sessions for us during quiet times on topics like: suturing, cannulation, beside ultrasound.

Other activities in the town: Many wineries and fruit farms in the area to visit. We went to the giant maze and minigold one day and it was a bit of a laugh. Also the weathers nice in summer compared to the rest of Queensland.

Best part of placement: I got to do more than I could’ve hoped.

Overall experience rating: 5/5

Teaching rating: 5/5

What would you do differently: nothing – it was a great placement.

Additional info: The main downside was that there were a lot of students here compared to the number of patients which got pretty frustrating at times. I think the hospital only has 20 or so beds and there was 8 med students (4 from JCU and 4 from elsewhere). Half of the patients are essentially long stay/nursing home type patients with not a lot changing in their case day to day so it was sometimes hard to find something to do. But the plus side of that is that there’s plenty of time for studying/doing your assignments, and the staff didn’t seem to mind people doing that.


Thursday Island

Thursday Island Hospital

Specialties? Med, Gen Surg, Emergency, Obstetrics

Clinical opportunities? General ward duties and emergency duties.

Accommodation & facilities? Excellent – short bike ride from the hospital.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 4pm weekdays

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Very friendly with interesting clinical experiences.

Other activities you would recommend? Friday Island pearl farm, fishing and karaoke.

Cost? $500

Best bits of your placement? Great clinical case mix. Very social island.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Take a fishing rod.



Capricorn Hospital

Specialties? ED

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, suturing, history taking, performing examinations, ambulance transfers

Accommodation & facilities? Stayed with a nurse from the hospital.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm weekdays

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Very, very available and super friendly.

Other activities you would recommend? Nightlife is awesome, clubs are so much fun. Awesome beaches in Yeppoon, great bushwalks. Cuppa Cabana – amazing coffee!

Cost? $1000

Best bits of your placement? Performing clinical skills, the coffee from Cuppa Cabana and getting to take bloods / suture EVERYDAY!

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Get more involved.

Other tips? Defs go here!


New South Wales


Kendal Street Medical Service

How did you organise this? Called the service and spoke to the practice manager.

Specialties? Obstetrics, anaesthetics, Aboriginal health, general surgery, ophthalmology, cardiology, rural generalism

Clinical opportunities? Attending theatre and helping – general surgery, ophthalmology and obstetrics, suturing, vaccination , cannulation , taking bloods – venous and arterial, putting on ECGs, physical examinations, scrubbing, vital signs, ear examinations
Accommodation & facilities? Lived at the Nurses Quarters at Cowra hospital. Accommodation is roughly $80/wk or $20/wk if you’re a student paying rent at another location.
Facilities were great. Internet was provided. Bathroom was very clean. A medical students study room for ANU students but other medical students can use it. Woolworths, Coles and Aldi are close by.

Busiest time of the day? 8.30am – 5pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Staff were always available to help and answer questions. Doctors invited students to registrar training meeting – free lunch. Nurses were the best because they would supervise all the clinical procedures the student tried. The visiting specialists were very keen to teach and let students examine and participate in patient consultations.
Other activities you would recommend? Visiting local pubs. Japanese gardens – very beautiful! Wyangala Dam – good for water sports in summer. War museums, farmer’s markets, wine tasting.
Cost? $250

Best bits of your placement? Doctors were very nice and very inclusive in what they do. Doctors were very hard working and experienced in what they do. Cowra is a very pretty and relaxing part of NSW. I was able to do a lot of clinical skills and learn ones that I haven’t been taught yet. Met some new friends who were also living at the nurses quarters and on placement from other health areas – speech path, optometry.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Have more medical knowledge and have revised over my physiology because I was a bit lost at times.

Other comments or tips? Be proactive and keen so you get more opportunities to be involved. Be really nice to the nurses both at the medical centre and at the hospital because they are the ones that let you do everything.



Grafton Base Hospital 

How did you organise this? I had a self-arranged place, so after I contacted a few different places Grafton said they had an available place for my friend and I.

Specialties? Emergency, Paediatrics, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Pathology, Orthopaedics

Clinical opportunities? Each week I was in a different department so I had many amazing experiences such as taking blood, assisting in surgeries, helping deliver babies, sitting in on a paediatric clinic at the Aboriginal Health Care Centre.

Accommodation & facilities? We stayed in the nursing headquarters at the hospital. It was $25 a week (very cheap) and we had a room each with a deck, bed and cupboard, plus a shared kitchen, bathroom and laundry. There was also a pool and you could hire out bikes.

Busiest time of the day? 7am – 5pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Most of the staff were extremely approachable and made sure we felt comfortable. Whilst I was changing departments each week, I got to know many of the staff extremely well which also made it easier to participate in medical procedures etc.

Other activities you would recommend? We met a range of students doing many different degrees (physio, nursing etc.) and we interacted a lot with them. In the evenings we would have movie nights and each Wednesday we went to the local pub for trivia night. We also went to the beautiful surrounding beaches on the weekend.

Cost? $100 for accommodation, food was more expensive, $200 travel

Best bits of your placement? I didn’t have just one best experience as I enjoyed the whole thing but some highlights include: seeing 4 babies being born in one day, taking blood for the first time, sitting in on paediatric consultations, sitting in with the anaesthesiologists

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Cannulation was one thing that I really wanted to do but didn’t get an opportunity. Apart from that, nothing!

Other tips? I would really recommend future students do their placement in Grafton if they get the opportunity!

How did you organise this? Directly emailed Hospital Placement Co-ordinator at the time.

Specialties? ED, Clinics, Physiotherapy, Sexual Health

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, suturing, attending theatre, history taking, examination, weekly teachings

Accommodation & facilities? Nursing quarters on the same hospital ground (literally 10m walk door to door). I stayed on the top floor (3rd floor) that had been recently refurbished. On our floor we had a kitchenette, dining room, 2 living rooms and shared bathrooms (3 cubicles) and showers (2). Around 8 people to a floor? I went at the end of the year so we only had about 5 people. No charge.

Busiest time of the day? 8am-5pm most days

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? GBH is a teaching hospital for NSW medical students so the staff are all very willing to teach. We had a few locums at the time who were equally new to the hospital, but there were enough residing doctors to put us to work and teach. Great one-on-one anatomy revision in theatre (note: your hand will become a retractor for most operations). We had weekly teaching sessions with more senior students (years 4-6) from UWS, UNSW and a UQ student on the John Flynn Program so the topics tended to be clinical based, but expectations towards us were low (a good thing) and we learnt heaps from the other students. You can stay for as long or short as you want.

Other activities you would recommend? Grafton is known as the Jaracanda City. It was classified ‘A’ under JCU at the time I applied because it’s a fairly large town. Having said that, neither I nor the other 2 students with me had cars so we didn’t go anywhere. Coffs Harbour is reasonably close so that might be a nice place to drive to. Our placement was at the end of the year so there was a hospital Christmas Party and we were invited (staff are very nice there) so that was fun. There is also a decently sized shopping centre with Woolworths, Big W, Coles and Target.

Cost? Free

Best bits of your placement? The staff and the other students you meet, plus all the learning opportunities. There was absolutely no pressure whatsoever (maybe a little when organising the placement – but day 1 the co-ordinator sits down with you and hands you a personal timetable of where to go, based off the interests you indicate on the application form). Everyone was so friendly, so professional and for those who are not familiar with rural towns, Grafton is the perfect middle ground.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Be more proactive!

Other tips? Apply early. From memory, I sent an e-mail around February/March with the thought of doing rural at the end of the year. I received a reply around 2 weeks later with a lot of forms to fill out and documentation to gather. Everything was finalised around May/June.



Singleton Hospital

Specialties? GP, rural generalist with O&G, anaesthetics

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, suturing, attending theatre, GP consultations, social worker home visits, taking vitals, doing obs

Accommodation & facilities? The accommodation was clean. 4 bedrooms. However we had to share 2 people to a bedroom. One slept on a mattress while the other slept on the bed. Each room had a large bathroom. There was also a living room, dining room and large kitchen with one fridge. Air conditioned throughout.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? They were all very helpful and approachable. However, doctors were not easily available at the hospital as the hospital only had 1 on call doctor at a time.

Other activities you would recommend? I visited during Christmas time. The Christmas lights in the Hunter Valley is a must see! Very pleasing to the eye. The Hunter Valley wine tasting is also a fun thing to do on the weekends. In terms of night life, there are pubs in town however, they do not stay open until very late.

Cost? $10 per night at the accommodation. Approximately $300 for accommodation.

Best bits of your placement? Visiting the GP clinic had to be my best part about the placement. The doctor has built great rapport with all his patients and you can see how much his patients respect and value his time. He also has done a lot for the community in terms of research which was great to hear about. Definitely one of the doctors I would aspire to be like in the future.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Spend more time at the GP clinic.

Other tips? Was a great placement! Travel around the Hunter Valley as much as you can!


Northern Territory


Katherine District Hospital 

Specialties? Surgical, Obstetrics, Emergency, Renal, Endocrinology

Clinical opportunities? As a second year, there were limited practical clinical opportunities (most learning was done on a shadowing basis). Despite this students, particularly more experienced ones, could perform suturing, cannulation, spirometry, assist with minor surgical procedures.

Accommodation & facilities? The accommodation was fantastic. Students were placed in a modern, furnished house or apartment that was situated one street from the main road and less than 5 minutes from the hospital. The accommodation was air-conditioned, with a laundry, substantial kitchen and living areas and individual bedrooms with double beds, desks and mirrored wardrobes.

Busiest time of the day? Handover, ward rounds + general hospital (8am-3pm)

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? The cultural challenges were significant and often confronting, but made for excellent personal and professional growth. The patient group primarily comprised of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with complex co-morbidities and difficult social determinants and early significant morbidity. Katherine has a significant homeless population and many drug and alcohol issues which contribute to the poor standard of health. We participated in cultural and communication workshops which facilitated communication skills and improved awareness of the complex cultural issues.

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were on the whole, very friendly and amenable to teaching students. While our clinical accumen was limited as a second year, the staff went out of their way to explain cases, perform teaching sessions and involve students at the bedside. The staff were also an exceptional contact from a “community point of view” and provided many opportunities for socialisation and integration into the community (ie. invite us to dinner, karaoke night, Christmas carols, trips to the Katherine Gorge).

Other activities you would recommend? Nitmuluk National park – walking trials, gorge cruise, swimming, Katherine River – fishing, Cutta Cutta Caves, Katherine museum, Edith Falls, Mataranka Hot springs, Mimi Aboriginal Arts and Crafts, Christmas Carols, Karaoke night at RSL

Cost? $1000 with accommodation, travel, spending, living

Best bits of your placement? Integrating into the rural community was by far the highlight of the placement. We were surrounded by a wonderful, supportive community of staff and fellow medical students from Flinders and Katherine was the most brilliant and quintessential outback Australian experience I could have been afforded. There was excellent tropical medicine and Aboriginal cultural exposure, the opportunity to interact with special needs children on a grassroots level at the Kintore Special School, and awesome opportunities to explore and see the top end.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? The top end is a brilliant cultural and learning experience! Get to know the local staff (we had dinner from the lightning viewing deck of a remote area nurse’s property!) and attempt to integrate into the local community as much as possible. Be keen to learn and adopt cultural awareness and sensitivity and be interested in the hospital setting – there is some very interesting tropical and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medicine. See as much of the NT as you can on your time off – there are so many wonderful outback attractions to see!




Bass Coast Hospital

How did you organise this? Myself and a friend did our own research spending many hours on the phone to several different rural hospitals in Victoria. We finally hit the jackpot after many knock downs when the hospital in Wonthaggi agreed to take us under their wing. After endless phone calls and emails we arranged all the paper work with the educational office of the hospital further forwarding this onto JCU when the placement was official confirmed.

Specialties? Emergency, Obstretics and Gyncaecology Surgery, Anaesthetics, Mental Health, Primary Healthcare (diabetic education), General Practice, Renal, ICU, Maternity, Allied Health

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, phlebotomy, intubation, insertion of nasogastric tubes, plastering of fractures, insertion of catheters, paracentesis, surgical scrub, anaesthetics – surgical, abdominal nerve block, insertion of arterial line, suturing
patient history/physical examination – saw patients by myself prior to the doctor. Suturing, history taking, performing examinations, ambulance transfers.

Accommodation & facilities? I stayed at the nursing quarters part of the hospital. Included 10 individual rooms with desk, wardrobe and single bed (linen provided). Share bathrooms and washing facilities. The kitchen and lounge area was shared.
As Wonthaggi is only a small rural town Woolworths and Coles were 5 minute walk down the street. Big W and Target were in the same complex and there were amazing cafes/bakeries always open. The gym was another 5 mins away from the accommodation. There were stunning beaches surrounding the areas only 10mins drive away.

Busiest time of the day? Hospital shifts between 8am and 8pm. Weekends spent in Wonthaggi and surrounding areas exploring. Evenings dependent on shift if until 8pm or would spend at beach/accommodation.

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were always available during our shifts. We could only attend between 8am and 8pm when the Senior Medical Officer was on duty. We were always able to ask questions and get involved. The nurses, interns, registrars, doctors, and other health professionals were always willing to help and showed great interest in teaching me.

Other activities you would recommend? Wonthaggi is renowned for its amazing beaches – spent many nights at the beach having fish and chips watching the sunsets. Explored Wonthaggi history – went to the coal mines and did a guided tour on the weekend. Went to Leongatha – small township 10mins from Wonthaggi – enjoyed local pub meal and their local cinemas. Attended the Wonthaggi Show – participated in events and enjoyed the rides. Socialised with some of the interns/registrars on the weekend – few drinks at one of the beaches. Went to Phillip Island – saw penguins and visited the Nobbies.

Cost? Including transport from TSV to Wonthaggi ($450), food ($150), sightseeing ($100), accommodation ($625 including wifi) = $1325

Best bits of your placement? The clinical experience we got whilst at the hospital was amazing. The doctors were so interested in teaching myself new clinical skills and allowed me any opportunity to practice. The nurses were great in assisting me in doing the clinical skills as well as teaching me basics about the machinery used and the management of the patient.

I thoroughly enjoyed the area Wonthaggi is located in; there is such amazing and beautiful places that everyone would enjoy visiting. The local people are extremely lovely and very helpful telling me different things to see and do. I have some of the best memories from this placement.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5


New Zealand


Hawera Hospital

How did you organise this placement? I knew people who lived in Hawera so I contact the hospital directly using the email for medical students that was located on their website. Once I had heard back from them, I forwarded the details onto JCU who approved the placement.

Specialties? General, Emergency, Inpatient Ward

Clinical opportunities? Ward rounds, history taking, injections, clinical examinations, days spent with allied health, ambulance etc

Accommodation & facilities? I stayed with family friends but there was accommodation available at the hospital.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 2pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Very! I had excellent supervisors who were happy to teach.

Other activities you would recommend? Travelling on weekends, movies, gym, going out for dinner/lunch with new friends.
Cost? $1500

Best bits of your placement? Experiencing a whole new country and culture, applying the clinical skills and knowledge I’d acquired, exploring somewhere new.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

Other comments? New Zealand is a great choice for 2nd year rural placement!

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