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 4 rural placement:





Whitsunday Health Service

Specialties? GP Clinic

Clinical opportunities? Clincal examinations, consults, MMSE’s, excisions, suturing, checkups, perform and interpret ECG and spirometry 

Accommodation & facilities? Accomodation- hospital accommodation, quite spacious, shared with two other students, easy walking distance to main street, two supermarkets and the GP practice. Facilities- had access to a gym, rooms are air conditioned, eduroam.

Busiest time of the day? 8am-5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Absolutely lovely, everyone was very helpful, happy to answer questions or have me hanging around or assisting.

Other activities you would recommend? This was the best part. It was about a half hour drive to Airlie, but so worth it.
The hospital pharmacist also had a yacht and took a group of us out for a weekend sailing trip, as well as on races on a Wednesday evening. Most of the junior doctors are also based in Mackay and on rotation there so everyone is pretty keen to go out and socialise.
Town in Airlie is awesome, but about a $100 cab ride, so go in a group!

Cost? Just food/living costs, accommodation was covered.

Best bits of your placement? Teaching with my supervisor – he was an amazingly enthusiastic teacher and very excited to have students.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

What would you do differently? Better balance of study and placement – I was enjoying the clinical experience so much that I neglected my study, and you don’t want to leave playing catch up.

Other tips? As your written case for Rural has to be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patient, speak to the Indigenous Health Worker. She is very helpful in finding a patient.



Atherton Hospital 

Specialties? Emergency, endoscopy, chemotherapy, obgyn, general surgery, dental surgery, anaesthetics, radiology, renal dialysis, allied health – OT, pharmacy, dietician

Clinical opportunities? Attending theatre, assisting in theatre, cannulation, venipuncture, suturing, insertion of catheters, history taking, examinations, note taking, ward rounds, presenting cases, local anesthesia

Accommodation & facilities? Double beds in large rooms, huge living area, outdoor areas with BBQ, eduroam, digital TV, ample parking, technically walking distance to hospital and shops but very hilly area, crossfit box, swimming pool, gym with limited facilities.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Very. Literally everyone was super friendly and happy to help you out if you needed.

Other activities you would recommend? Meetings on Wednesday lunchtime in the pioneer room for free lunch.
Lots to see on the tablelands, waterfalls, coffee works, Yungaburra fig tree, local markets in adjacent towns. 

Cost?Accommodation was free, so just fuel and food.

Best bits of your placement? Friendly staff, making friends with the other students, allied health staff and interns, assisting in theatre, expanding practical skills.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

Specialties? Gynaecology, surgery, internal medicine, emergency medicine

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, suturing, attending theatre, venepuncture, BSL, urine dipstick.

Accommodation & facilities? Nice, clean, new, comfortable beds, good internet.

Busiest time of the day? 9am – 4pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

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

Other activities you would recommend? Sight-seeing, amazing restaurants.

Cost? $100

Best bits of your placement? Resuscitation in ED.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5

Other tips? Spend more time in Emergency as there was lots to do there. Practise clinical examinations on patients in wards.

Specialties? ED, General medicine, OBGYN, maternity, general surgery, visiting clinics – ophthalmology, gastroenterology

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, suturing, attending and assisting in theatre, seeing patients in ED and on ward rounds, attending births, catheterisation, watching exercise stress tests, endoscopy/colonoscopy, eye clinics

Accommodation & facilities? High quality JCU accommodation, recently refurbished, short walk from hospital and shops

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? There is a high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population which can present cultural challenges as patients.

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Staff all willing to help and teach. Interns and 6th years were very helpful.

Other activities you would recommend? Beautiful landscape, lots of outdoor activities e.g.. hiking, cycling, swimming at lakes, lots of fresh produce to try at the right season (strawberries, blueberries, coffee, chocolate), trivia nights, pubs (every third Friday), close to Cairns (beaches, reef)

Cost? Accommodation paid for by JCU, spending money and cost of activities vary depending on what you want to do (~$200)

Best bits of your placement? Ability to choose placement times gave flexibility to experience the local area. Friendly and helpful staff. Great accommodation and placed with other 4th and 6th years.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5

What would you do differently? Experience Cairns and beaches/reef more, however this was restricted by rural requirements.



Ayr Hospital 

Specialties? General medicine, ED, anaesthetics, obstetrics, GP

Clinical opportunities? Seeing patients on your own (history, examination, presenting to doctor, assisting with management), cannulation, suturing, assisting in theatre

Accommodation & facilities? Accommodation was a modern 4-bedroom house: 1 room had an ensuite, 3 other rooms shared a bathroom, shared kitchen, dining, lounge and laundry facilities, 2 fridges, outdoor BBQ (small), 2 car garage

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 very approachable and very eager to have students involved, both at the hospital and at social events. Some of the doctors studied at JCU so understand what students are going through.

Other activities you would recommend? Several social outings with hospital staff – dinners, bowling, BBQ, fundraisers. Events in the community – Burdekin Water Festival.

Cost?Accommodation was free for medical students.

Best bits of your placement? Being able to see patients by yourself (more experience in interacting with patients, thinking of differentials, learning how to manage common things). The opportunity to assist in theatre. The social events with members of the community – chance to really get involved.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? I would have tried to get even more experience with other clinical skills like catheters, nasogastric tubes etc.



Bowen Hospital 

Specialties? Rural gen, O&G, anasthetics, visiting orthopaedics

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, suturing, plastering, taking blood. 

Accommodation & facilities? There are two houses for accommodation, one next to the hospital and another 5mins drive away in the suburbs. I stayed at the house in the suburbs which was really nice – very new and clean. Best JCU accommodation I have experienced. Unfortunately there was no internet.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? They were very approachable and interested in teaching students.

Other activities you would recommend? Visit the beaches. 

Cost? No accommodation cost. No internet available but there is a subsidy.

Best bits of your placement? Being able to take patients through in ED, take a history and examination, present the doctor and be involved in the management.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

Other tips? There is a lot of down time in the afternoons so asking the doctors for some teaching in this time would be beneficial.

Specialties? ED

Clinical opportunities? Good opportunities to take histories, examinations and present to doctors. Once weekly antenatal clinic.

Accommodation & facilities? Accommodation was right next to the hospital with a great view of Bowen on top of a little hill.
Very clean and spacious Queenslander. Washing machine, dryer, dish washer all included and individual air-conditioning of rooms. No internet was provided.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Most of the medical staff were very helpful and willing to teach but there was some apprehension from other staff. Two of the three senior doctors were very helpful and excellent teachers. The other was not willing to teach and encouraged administrative work. 

Other activities you would recommend? Great local beaches. Great fish and chips and an amazing pie shop. You are able to go sailing with locals on the weekend and Wednesday around the bay – its a great opportunity and the people are all very nice.

Cost? Internet + fuel

Best bits of your placement? Getting to interview, examine and present patients in ED to the senior doctors.

Rate the experience overall? 2/5

Rate the teaching? 2/5

Other tips? Bloods were always taken very early in the morning because the bus to Townsville left at 7am. So if you are extra keen to get practice you are going to need to wake up very early.

Specialties? Rural generalist and GP

Clinical opportunities? At the GP clinic, it was mostly sitting in and observing consultations. However after a few weeks the doctor allowed us to do many skin excisions and suturing.
At the hospital we were able to work in the ED and outpatient clinic. Here we had more opportunity for direct patient interaction – conduct consultations by yourself before discussing your findings/impression with doctor (this was ideal for improving our history taking and physical examination skills). Other than this, we also got various opportunities for taking bloods, cannulation, applying casts, etc.

Accommodation & facilities? Students who go to Bowen are located in either one of two accommodation sites. The one I stayed at was right next to the hospital, so it was conveniently located. It had four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living/dining room. It had all the basic furniture and appliances you would need. However there was no internet provided. And you have to bring your own linen.
There’s a woolworths, two gyms, many beaches and various option for eating out.

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 very helpful and approachable. Not an issue.

Other activities you would recommend? Explore the beaches, walking trails, walk out into the main beach during low tide, speedboat races (in August), try chatting with the members of the yacht club to take you out on their boats, visit Airlie beach on one of your weekends, they occasionally have night markets

Cost? Just fuel and groceries (under $400)

Best bits of your placement? The excellent clinical experience (obviously as a 4th year I was allowed to do more stuff than pre-clinical students would be allowed). Kind and supportive staff. Beautiful town with surrounding attractions.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

Other tips? Go in with a better anatomy knowledge.



Cloncurry Hospital 

Specialties? Medicine, Emergency, General Practice

Clinical opportunities? As long as you are enthusiastic and get involved at the hospital the doctors are really happy to let you have a go at lots of stuff. I went out with the paramedics a number of times to some big traumas; had lots of practice cannulating and suturing, and a bit of casting. It was great prep for my 4th year exams.

Accommodation & facilities? Quite new & nice accomodation. There wasn’t a pool or gym onsite but there is in town.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? They were great as long as you put in the time and effort with them.

Other activities you would recommend? Trivia nights, the Cloncurry races & rodeo, Boxing tournaments. 

Cost? All covered by JCU.

Best bits of your placement? That it was a great insight into life as a rural generalist in the bush.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently? More weekend / after hours on call.


Cloncurry Hospital

Specialities available: Rural Generalism, General Practice

Clinical opportunities: Histories, Physical Exams, IDC, IVC, phlebotomy, suturing, pre-op appointments, discharge summaries, participation in ward rounds

Accommodation and facilities: JCU Accommodation (2 x demountables with 3 rooms each, self-contained, on hospital grounds)

Busiest time of day: Late Morning

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: Everyone is very welcoming! (Cloncurry is known as “the friendly heart of the Great North-West”)

Approachable/availability of staff: Very approachable – don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Other activities in the town: Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine, John Flynn Place, Cloncurry & Mary Kathleen Museum, The Red Door cafe, The Chinaman Creek Dam, running up to the lookout behind the museum

Best part of placement: Continuity of care with patients between the hospital and the GP, real rural experience, seeing the obstacles of having limited ambulances/resources/imaging, helicopter rescue

Overall experience rating: 5/5

Teaching rating: 5/5

What would you do differently: Pick it as a first preference

Other tips: Active participation is highly appreciated

Additional info: Single person placement for 4th and 6th year, so it can be lonely if the other Med student isn’t there, but the opportunity to be an independent member of the healthcare team is worth it.



Collinsville Multipurpose Health Service

Specialties? Hospital, GP, aged care and visiting allied health

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, phlebotomy, suturing, catheterisation, history and physical examination

Accommodation & facilities? Accommodation was good. The town has a swimming pool and a very small gym.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 4pm

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The nursing and administration staff were very approachable. The doctor was also quite approachable however he was quite busy being the only doctor in the town.

Other activities you would recommend? The local pool, gym and pub were the main activities available in Collinsville

Cost? Cost and fuel was covered so it was just money for food.

Best bits of your placement? It was a fantastic community and everybody was very welcoming. We made lots of friends who made the 8 weeks fly.

Rate the experience overall? 3/5

Rate the teaching? 2/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Study more while on placement as there was a lot of down time in the hospital.

Other tips? Fantastic community. The GP practice was quite busy and provided great practice of taking bloods and history taking, however the hospital was often empty with ward rounds consisting of the same patient. 



Cooktown Hospital 

Specialties? GP, rural hospital, general physician, visiting specialities, obstetrics and gynaecology, visiting surgery, dermatology

Clinical opportunities? Lots! Cannulation, venesection, IDC, punch biopsy, shave biopsy, excisional biopsy, suturing, immunisation, ascitic tap, papsmear, cryotherapy (with visiting dermatologist), visits to Indigenous communities – Hope Vale, Wujal Wujal

Accommodation & facilities? The accommodation was a share house. Other students who were there during my placement included a 6th year medical student, nursing students, physiotherapy student. The house is actually pretty great – it is nothing flash, but you have: own lockable bedroom, air conditioned, big bathroom (shared), big common area (air conditioned), huge TV, nice big comfy couches, kitchen – pretty well stocked with kitchen gear. Big pantry. 2 fridges, outside area with a big table and chairs. Small carpark at the back of the house – no undercover. The house is quite old, but it is air conditioned and has everything that you need.
It is right opposite the town pool (paid entry), and 3 minute walk from PCYC which is pretty brand spanking new! Walking distance to hospital, few minutes drive to GP practice and IGA.

Busiest time of the day? Hospital: 8am – 4/5pm. GP: 8.30am – 4pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Important to consider cultural differences with patients. 

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Great! The staff are great.
Hospital: our supervisor was a previous JCU grad. The other doctors there are all very friendly, experienced and happy to get you involved. The nursing staff are also fantastic, and love brownies.
GP: fantastic! Even though you are only rostered with one doctor at the clinic, the other GPs there will come and grab you if they have something interesting. The practice nurses are fantastic also and if you make the effort they are more than happy to get you involved.

Other activities you would recommend? Cooktown has some beautiful scenic areas, and some great camping places if you’re into that! Grassy Hill, botanical gardens (has some walking tracks that lead to the beach), Mt Cook, PCYC, markets on the weekend – there is a pie lady who makes the BEST pies!
Town pool- I got to know the man who ran it and he used to be a scuba dive instructor, so he took me for a scuba lesson in the pool which was heaps of fun!

Cost? Mainly food expenses. Travel subsidy and accommodation provided by JCU. Food is more expensive though!

Best bits of your placement? IGA: every Sunday afternoon, if you go to IGA just before closing time, ALL OF THE BREAD IS $1!!! I think they get a new delivery each Sunday/Monday so it is all discounted to try and get rid of it. So I stocked up on delicious Helgas bread and $7 gluten free bread all for $1!
On my first day I was able to help out with a resus – because Cooktown is 4 hours drive from Cairns, and it does cater for a large area, if anything serious goes down the patients have to be managed and stabilised while their transport to Cairns is arranged. I was able to put in an NG tube, IDC and do some CPR, which was awesome!
Similarly, if there are severe workplace accidents the patients have to be managed before being transported.
GP is fantastic as well, as you 100% get to see all of your own patients before the doctor sees them – you are able to set up your own room, write notes etc, so it is like you are a GP yourself! This was fantastic fun and great experience.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? I would be much more proactive – right at the start I would set a plan of exactly what I wanted to achieve skills wise, and I would talk with all of the staff at the hospital to try and get these done from the word go. Although I was able to practice many skills, in hindsight I could have done a lot more if I were more proactive.

Other tips? Be proactive. Ask if you can do things. Enjoy yourself! You will be one of the only 2 or 3 students at the hospital, so make the most of being able to use that time to gain skills, see patients and learn things from your supervisors. Ask lots of questions of your supervisors – while I was there, one of the doctors was a fully qualified O&G from overseas, and another was previously an ophthalmologist – they have SO much knowledge and so many skills, you would be crazy not to take advantage of that!
With regards to food, I was very skeptical before I went so I took up the vast majority of groceries that I needed except for fresh produce. This was a reaaaalllly wise idea on my behalf, as things are more expensive at the IGA in Cooktown. If you are a vegetarian, take up any vege products (vege mice, sausages etc) that you might want. For fresh produce, I would recommend going to the markets as well as it is cheaper and supporting the local growers there.
And make sure you go to IGA to get the $1 bread!! 




Ingham Health Services

Specialities available: ED, O&G, Anaesthetics, Visiting clinics – Gen Surg, Cardiology, Gastro

Clinical opportunities: Cannulation, ABGs, Assisting deliveries, Ward round notes, clinic, Catheters, ECGs, Venipuncture, Discharge Summaries, Retrieval Medicine

Accommodation and facilities: JCU Sharehouse – 6 bedrooms: 6th years and 4th years and occasionally Nursing students as well. Very nice Accommodation, recently renovated. Some rooms were smaller than others. Well furnished. No Wifi Unfortunately

Busiest time of day: Afternoon/Evening shifts

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: nil

Approachable/availability of staff: AWESOME – Mostly JCU grads and Rural generalists.

Other activities in the town: Waterfalls, Doctors usually go out for dinner during the week, the Pubs, trivia nights,

Best part of placement: The whole thing!

Overall experience rating: 4/5

Teaching rating: 4/5

What would you do differently: nothing

Other tips: Just be as open and approachable to the staff when you start – can help with calling you in for interesting cases overnight, etc.




Longreach Hospital

Specialties? Rural generalism, ED, general surgery, O&G, anaesthetics, Indigenous health, gastroenterology, paediatrics, ophthalmology, general medicine

Clinical opportunities? History taking, examinations, case presentations to ED doctor, cannulation, suturing, IDC insertions, scrubbing and assisting in theatre, airway management (LMAs, ETT under supervision), follow birth (observe complicated birth interventions), observe medical retrieval from LBH

Accommodation & facilities? Accommodation was fantastic, very new! Individual room with wardrobe, bedside table, study desk, and lamp. Communal kitchen with dining table, TV room, laundry. Bathrooms were two people to a shower. Accommodation was kept very neat and tidy. Accommodation was next door to the hospital. 5min drive to GP practice and Foodworks

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm 

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were great! The doctors, many JCU grads from 3y ago, encouraged us to call them by their first names and often would come out to the pub with us on weekends! The nurses made the placement also! Many were recent grad nurses around the same age as us! They would take us out every weekend.

Other activities you would recommend? There are 3 nightlife spots in Longreach – avoid the Lyce (actually known as the Lyceum). We ate out a few times, there are some really nice restaurants on the main street of town. If the opportunity comes up, you MUST go to the station with the nursing staff. Definitely engaged in some daring activities, but it was the highlight of the rotation for me!

Cost? Accommodation was free as we went during 4th year. BEWARE, fruit / veg / petrol is super expensive out there!

Best bits of your placement? Longreach Hospital acts as the health hub for the Central West region, so we had a different specialist visiting every week – this included opthal, gastro, paeds, O&G, near, rheumatology, etc. Many of these doctors are super keen to get you involved in what they’re doing – we got to assist in everything from cataracts removals to driving the scope during a colonoscopy!
The nurses are amazing. They will make your placement incredible – get to know them!

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently? Communicate with the other students (there were 2x 6th years and 2x 4th years there when I did it) exactly what it is you want to do for the day. You all organise who is at the hospital and who is at the GP practice – be careful not to get locked into only doing one.

Other tips? You are going to need to embrace the rural lifestyle to get the most out of this placement. By no means am I telling you to buy a hat and RM Williams boots (though the doctors would think you were the beez-neez if you did!), if you don’t like roughing it a little bit, maybe Longreach isn’t for you.

Specialties? GP, Hospital-ED, OBS/GYN, General Surg. FIFO

Clinical opportunities? This placement was supposed to have a lot of clinical opportunities such as cannulation, suturing, attending theatre, history taking, physical examinations and etc but minimal opportunities were given to us as students. We did have the opportunity to attend theatre a few times when fly in and fly out services came to town; opthalmology, general surgery, gastrointestinal, psychiatry, paeds. Most of our time was spent in the GP clinic and we served as pot plants (sadly). Not much communication was made with us and I never felt included in consults. Over the 7 weeks of placement we were not allowed to go to the hospital and were told to remain at the GP clinics (private and bulk). We were never given oppotunities to take blood, height, weight (simple things). We minimally participated and had very minimal contact with patients. I was not satisfied with this placement and before going was given false excitment. Previous students have had amazing experiences. This was not the case for us.

Accommodation & facilities? The accomodation was simply amazing. This was by far the best accomodation I have stayed on during placement. It was a brand new house with 10 rooms and plenty of space. There were good facilities and many things provided to make our stay more enjoyable. Our facilitator was absolutely wonderful.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 2pm 

How available and/or approachable were the staff? The staff were not approachable. Even though the staff has had JCU students all year long they acted surprised that we were there. We know they have students all year and many of the doctors were JCU graduates. We were very confused about the way we were percieved. We found it very difficult to sit in with many of them. They were very hesitant to let us sit and participate in their consult. My favourite doctor was the only doctor that was willing to teach.

Other activities you would recommend? There was not much of a night life that we participated in. It was definitely not our scene. We did however go to a few of the museums around that JCU provided us. We also went to Mt Isa for the rodeo. We did do a lot of coffee and ate at the local shops. 

Cost? $1300

Best bits of your placement? I would say one of the best parts was my experience during my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health experience week. I felt very involved in the team and I was acknowledged as a student. I really enjoyed to see all of the services that the town had for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. I also enjoyed the teaching and opportunities provided to me about 3 times by my favourite doctor.

Rate the experience overall? 1/5

Rate the teaching? 2/5

What would you do differently? I would like to spend time in the hospital. It was not helpful for us to never get to practice our skills. We never had enough time to practice skills and examinations in a GP setting. As the time passed we just felt that we were more of a nusence in the office. I think it would be beneficial if the 4th years actually spent that 50/50 they were suppose to spend at the GP and hospital. 



Mareeba Hospital

Specialities available: Gen Med, Paediatrisc, ONG, ED

Clinical opportunities: Lots! The ED was very hands on, I was allowed to see cat 3 & 4 patients on my own and then present and discuss them with the consultant, who would then go and see the patient after me. Great for improving communication and history taking skills, as well as examination skills! The nurses let me do all the bloods every morning, and I also got to practice a lot of cannulations. Lots of note writing and referral letters too.
The wards were a lot less hands on, but more admin based. Writing discharge summaries etc. There is still opportunities for putting in catheters etc. The 6th years there help you a lot.

Accommodation and facilities: You stay in a 7 bedroom house just around from the hospital (like 3 mins walk). I felt safe, as there was security screens, and you are with other students. The internet wasn’t great though, we had a bit of trouble with it.

Busiest time of day: Variable, probably mornings

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: A large proportion of the population is Indigenous, so there are a few cultural insights particularly with palliated patients. I learnt a lot more about Indigenous culture and their beliefs about certain medications and medical interventions etc.

Approachable/availability of staff: ED staff were extremely approachable! There’s often locums there too, but I found them very willing to teach and let you have a go. The 6th years always help you out if you don’t know what to do or who to go to.

Other activities in the town: Waterfall circuit on the tablelands, trip to Atherton to visit fellow 4th years. You have CPC at Atherton so you normally drive there twice a week anyway

Best part of placement: The experience I gained by taking lots and lots of histories every day was invaluable. I felt so much more confident after this placement.

Overall experience rating: 5/5

Teaching rating: 4/5

What would you do differently: I would probably try to practice my suturing more! There were opportunities but I didn’t take all of them.


Other tips: Don’t be afraid to ask a doctor if you can go and see patients that are in the waiting room! They nearly always say yes, plus it saves them time! They give you tips about how to present to them and what you may have missed or didn’t examine etc.





Mossman Multi Purpose Health Service

Specialties? Emergency, general medicine, renal medicine, general practice

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, venepuncture, suturing, plastering fractures, intubation, foreign body removal, dialysis – attending, writing up notes from rounds & clerking, discharge summary writing, Indigenous health clinics

Accommodation & facilities? Fantastic house – 4 bedroom 2 bathroom, lounge/dining/kitchen, 2 car undercover parking. No gym in Mossman unfortunately but hospital runs Ultimate Frisbee every Wednesday afternoon and Mossman Gorge – great for exercise and site seeing, just down the road. Swimming etc. was available in Port Douglas.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 12pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Fantastic. They were absolutely approachable and available to help at all times. We became rather close to them and they were always very happy to help out with answering questions, aiding in clinical skills, calling us in for patients suitable for assignments etc.

Other activities you would recommend? Ultimate Frisbee every Wednesday with staff & families, dinner & drinks every Friday with the staff, staff dinners (usually initiated by medical and nursing students), going to Mossman Gorge, going to Port Douglas, walking through the town and visiting all the cute little shops, markets, going for drives to the beach, going for drives along the highway and going to all the sites – waterfalls, lakes, beaches, lookouts etc. 

Cost? Free accommodation, really just cost of living & fuel – no extra needed

Best bits of your placement? How well we got on with the team. The amount of responsibility given made us feel useful but not overwhelmed. The beauty of FNQLD. The amazing team. Coming out of it feeling like “yeah, I could be a doctor” (haha). Being taught by some amazing 6th years (I was a 4th year at the time).

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Have more goals RE: what skills I wanted to obtain by the end of the placement I had developed a list but it was getting harder to fulfil them all. Left Mossman a little more on weekends etc. to explore the area.

Other tips? Have fun, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get your hands dirty, don’t expect to know everything, don’t worry if you don’t understand things and if they do things a little differently out there – it’s a fantastic place, you’ll get a great deal out of it, and don’t stress!

Mossman Hospital

Specialties? ED

Clinical opportunities? History taking, examinations, patient note write ups, cannulation, suturing, ward rounds

Accommodation & facilities? 4 bedroom house – two 4th years and two 6th years.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 1pm weekdays 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff?  Super nice and conducted good CPCs weekly, other staff were nice too, interns were nice. Didn’t get call in after hours (like a delivery). Pretty chilled.

Other activities you would recommend? Things around town.

Cost? No out of pocket

Best bits of your placement? Chilled time schedule, so that I could catch up with studies.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

Other tips? Look for your written case patient early! Be careful on the road! Ask for the quieter rooms.


Mount Isa 

Mount Isa Hospital 

Specialties? GP, Medicine, Surgery, Radiology, Obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, ED

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, phlebotomy, suturing, attending theatre, attending ward rounds, clinical skills and examinations, immunisations, assessing patients

Accommodation & facilities? Apartment style accommodation

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 4pm 

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

Other activities you would recommend? Camping at Adele’s grove, canoeing at Lawn Hill National Park, night life – Buff’s Club, going out to dinner, student and doctor gatherings, Lake Moondarra

Cost? Approx $600 (fuel)

Best bits of your placement? Experiencing surgery and medical ward rounds.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5



Mount Isa Hospital

Specialities available: General Medicine Ward and Surgical Ward

Clinical opportunities: History Taking, Physical Exams, Minor GP procedures, Venesection and IVC

Accommodation and facilities: Shared accommodation like a College or 3 bedroom apartments, fully furnished, utilities provided, washing and drying services. Full functional stove/oven/grill. Dishes, pots and pans were provided. Once a week – cleaning service for bathroom and toilet

Busiest time of day: 8-4pm

Safety/ethical issues or cultural challenges: Some attempted break-ins from street vandals, student had car broken into. Some cultural awareness when communicating with indigenous patients

Approachable/availability of staff: Staff were very approachable and available

Other activities in the town: Buffs Club for Trivia, Isa Hotel for dinner, PCYC Chillin in the Park Initiative and PCYC Gym, Lake Moondarra and The Hill

Best part of placement: Surgical ward and watching The Bachelor with the crew

Overall experience rating: 3/5

Teaching rating: 4/5

What would you do differently: Find more time to explore the town and make more plans to spend time with the other students. Be more proactive with taking histories and asking doctors for more independence in procedures.

Other tips: Make sure to bring active wear – PCYC is free for students. Better to have a car here, Gray street accommodation is the most convenient. if you come in mid year or Term 4, bring warm clothes.




Proserpine Hospital

Specialties? ED, General Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Gen Surg, Mental Health

Clinical opportunities? Cannulation, attending theatre, suturing, taking blood, taking histories and examining patients, presenting patients to SMOs, attending antenatal, fracture and pre surgery clinics

Accommodation & facilities? JCU accommodation was excellent. 3brm townhouse with 2 bathrooms. Well appointed kitchen and living area. Air conditioned throughout. Washer, dryer and dishwasher. Access to Eduroam both at the hospital and accommodation.

Busiest time of the day? 8am-5pm daily

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? SMOs were always available, approachable and willing to teach. Allowed student to see patients independently and present findings before re-examining patient and teaching. Always willing to explain and allow us to get involved.

Other activities you would recommend? Lots of social activities available at nearby Airlie Beach – nightclubs, restaurants, markets, hiking etc.

Cost? No cost for accommodation. Only cost incurred was travel and food costs.

Best bits of your placement? Given the independence to see patients and present findings to SMOs. Able to practice many new and old skills. Always able to easily get involved in procedures or complicated patient management. Felt fully supported by all the staff. Nurses were lovely and always ready to give us something to do.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

Other tips? Go to Proserpine willing to learn and get involved. If you show enthusiasm, it will be reflected in the amount of teaching and learning opportunities that you receive. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed but always be ready to give anything a go.

Specialties? ED, gen med, gen surg, maternity, anaesthetics

Clinical opportunities? ED: Cannulation and venipuncture, suturing, clerking your own patients and presenting to the docs, draining abscesses, watching resuscitations. O&G: Assisting in caesarean sections and watching vaginal deliveries/labour process. Gen med & surg: Clerking patients on the ward (practicing hx taking and exam)
The health service is run by around 5-6 rural generalists who rotate between the ED, ward and surgery. They each have different advanced skills and so between them cover most of the general fields of medicine. They are each very eager to teach students and happy to let you do as much as you feel is within your capability.
A Paediatric Life Support course was happening during the time we were there so we got to attend too – very good opportunity.

Accommodation & facilities? I stayed at the student accommodation on hospital grounds (so literally less than a minute’s walk from work every day). Within the house there were 4 individually lockable rooms, 2 bathrooms, a basic kitchen and a few couches and a nice TV. Place was cleaned once a week.
Wi-fi was not available at the house itself but I used the computers in a study room within the hospital compound that was available 24 hours. There was also a capsule coffee machine, cereal and milk that we were free to help ourselves too (when feeling peckish but cheap :P).

Busiest time of the day? 8am-5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Very approachable and eager to teach and let you do things.

Other activities you would recommend? Visited Airlie Beach often – the Yacht Club has races on Wednesday afternoons and often let you jump onboard and help out the crew if they’re short-staffed. Pharmaceutical company information night + dinner at a hotel. If you haven’t visited the Whitsunday Islands yet, this would be your chance to!

Cost? Only cost was fuel for travel and food groceries, basically.

Best bits of your placement? Getting to operate quite independently and learn heaps in the ED.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 5/5

Specialties? Emergency, General practice, Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Clinical opportunities? cannulation in ED and birth suite, suturing in ED, attending theatre – visiting surgeon on Wednesdays from Mackay performed laparoscopic cholecystectomies, hernia repairs and skin excisions. Number of rural generalists who had specialised in Obstetrics were based at Proserpine hospital so I got to first assist in at least 1 caesarean section per week. 

Accommodation & facilities? The Lodge is the accommodation owned by the Proserpine hospital provided for students. Literally 10m away from the hospital. Really good if you wanna be called in the middle of the night to go in for a birth/caesarean.
The house on Chapman street is walking distance too and owned by JCU. It’s really nice AND has eduroam on site. Very new accommodation.

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Very very approachable. So friendly. But make sure you get involved and make sure you go to handover every morning. They will know you and more likely to call you in if there’s something cool to do/see. The doctors were really good.
Always just ask if you can do something. Make sure you go into ED and see a patient and present it. The doctors like when you do that and write the patient up in the notes. In fact they find it helpful.

Other activities you would recommend? Well 20 minutes drive from Airlie beach. Should I say more.
There’s a gym so go and sign up because it is FREE for ALL hospital people. They have classes in Body combat and Body Pump and the gym people are so nice and welcoming. 1 hour drive from Bowen. There is a tennis court also free I think.

Best bits of your placement? First assisting on Caesareans and general surgery. Getting to suture up lacerations in ED all by myself. Getting to go to Airlie every weekend. Having the JCU computer lab 10m away from The Lodge accommodation. Got to go to a few drug rep dinners at really nice resorts in Airlie.  The community. There’s about 6 students or more from JCU at any given time from medicine and dentistry. So it’s never really lonely. If you’re doing it term 3 or 4 then there’s very relaxing spots to study. Can always go to the beach and there’s really nice cafes. Having the Woolworths supermarket 10m away from accommodation! Amazing if you don’t have a car.

Rate the experience overall? 5/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently? Get involved more. Go to clinics done by the visiting medical officers. Actually go to ED more often.

Other tips? Make friends with the doctors and nurses. They will be your main peeps for 8 weeks. Good luck!




Sarina Family Practice

Specialties? GP, minor surgery

Clinical opportunities? Suturing, venepuncture, communication skills, history taking, physical examination

Accommodation & facilities? The accommodation is very comfortable. Two bedrooms kitchen with cooking utensil equipped. One bathroom and one toilet.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 5pm 

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? My supervisor is very awesome. He is keen in teaching and provide constructive feedback on my performance. Nurses are very nice and let me to help them with anything.

Other activities you would recommend? Sight-seeing. 

Cost? $0

Best bits of your placement? Get to learn a lot of hands-on stuff. Become more confident in taking history and performing physical examination. Learn to come out with some important investigation and management plan for patients. Learn how to effectively communicate with other healthcare professionals.

Rate the experience overall? 4/5

Rate the teaching? 4/5

What would you do differently? I would be more proactive and try to grab every opportunity without thinking I am not good enough.

Other tips? Try to be more proactive and you will learn a lot from the doctors.



Tully Hospital 

Specialties? ED, General Medical Ward, Outpatients Clinic, GP Clinic, ATSI Health Outreach Clinic, Physiotherapy, OT, Social Workers, ATODS, Diabetic Educators

Clinical opportunities? History and examination of patients, ward rounds, taking bloods, cannulations, arterial blood gas, using iStat machines, x-rays, ultrasound, suturing, wound dressings

Accommodation & facilities? 3 bedroom house, king single bed, i bathroom, TV, close proximity to hospital (less than 1km), Supa IGA supermarket, subway, 24/7 gym, swimming pool (closed during winter), Tully gorge, MT. Tyson hiking trail, Mission Beach, whitewater rafting, sugar mill tours, Tully hotel, Rafter’s Nightclub.

Busiest time of the day? 8am – 12pm

Safety or ethical issues? Cultural challenges? Nil

How available and/or approachable were the staff? Staff were very friendly and approachable. Smaller hospital, so nurses are willing to teach and let you perform basic procedures. Doctors are more than happy to allow you to be apart of patient care on wards, and to see patients in ED.

Other activities you would recommend? Whitewater rafting experience, Mt. Tyson hiking trail, Visit Tully gorge and Mission Beach, Tully hotel and Rafter’s Nightclub nightlife.

Cost? Approx. $100/ wk food expense.

Best bits of your placement? Great clinical experience for basic skills (ie. history and exams), very involved in patient care, small town with lots of friendly people.

Rate the experience overall? 3/5

Rate the teaching? 3/5

What would you do differently if you could repeat your placement? Get stuck in day 1!

Other tips? Get involved as much as possible.

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