Tasmanian Intern Program

Meet our next round of Interns!

Five remote Tasmanian communities will be farewelling their first group of intern doctors as they leave to embark on the next stage of their intern journeys. Meanwhile, five new medical graduates are getting ready to commence their 13-week internship program, in what has proven to be a successful program for the Tasmanian community and doctors alike.

With the aim to encourage more young doctors to choose a career in rural general practice, the Government’s Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund is the first of several programs that will train, mentor and support doctors on each step of their rural medical career. Interns can elect in subsequent years to go on and acquire advanced rural skills, culminating in recognition from the Royal Australian College of General Practice and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

Ochre Health has been chosen to coordinate 20 intern placements per year across five remote Tasmanian practices over a three-year period. Commencing in January 2018, the program has enjoyed immediate success.

Ochre Heath co-founder Hamish Meldrum welcomes the second intake of junior medical officers, set to begin their training this month. He is confident that the five new intern placements will benefit both the community and the young doctors that are about to start the program. “Our small communities always welcome new faces to the area, and our new interns have been extremely well received over the last 13 weeks,” Hamish says. “We are pleased to be playing our part in Tasmania when it comes to training junior doctors.”

The second cohort of interns will be spread across the same four Ochre Health Tasmanian medical centres as the previous interns: Flinders Island, King Island, St Helens and Queenstown. Once again, a fifth intern will complete their placement at an independent medical centre in the Huon Valley.

Farewell to Dr Daniel Lack

Having almost completed his internship at Ochre Health Medical Centre Flinders Island, Dan Lack is excited for the next intake of interns, saying the program has given him the exposure and diversity he has been looking for as a junior medical officer.

“The real benefit for me has been working in an environment that doesn’t have one focus,” Daniel says. “In a small community such as Flinders Island you’re inevitably experiencing something new every day from general practice duties to emergency presentations, either working with acute hospital patients or conducting home visits. It is rare to gain this kind of hands-on experience, though a privilege for my first rotation as a junior doctor.”

Daniel will continue to build on the things he learnt throughout his rural primary care rotation at Flinders Island when he heads to the emergency department at Launceston General Hospital in a couple of weeks, citing both familiarity and community atmosphere behind his decision to continue practising in regional Tasmania.

“I was fortunate enough to work with Cape Barren Island’s indigenous community throughout the duration of my internship. Multiple members of their community mentioned to me how nice it was to have the same face turning up every two weeks, to see the same person who they can establish a bit of a connection with. It’s a very heart-warming feeling knowing you’re providing assistance to local communities in areas where it is needed most.”

According to Hamish, exposing interns to rural General Practice and other health services are undeniably the major benefits of the program. “The rural primary care rotations provide interns with opportunities for delivering preventive care and chronic disease management as well as acute care and retrievals off island. It’s a great opportunity to be exposed to a greater breadth of medicine,” he says. “In turn, we are hoping that the program will make these interns more likely to want to continue practicing medicine in smaller rural communities later in their careers.

The five interns on their first rotation were a pleasure to host in General Practice and we wish them well with the rest of their intern year.”

 


How it works

During this time, interns will accompany a senior GP on rounds in the local hospital, provide supervised consultations with patients, and generally get a broad exposure to the rigors of work as a rural GP.

How it Works

Ochre will coordinate 20 intern placements throughout 2018, with the support contract running until 2020. Ochre Co-founder and chairman Dr Ross Lamplugh, who himself lives in Tasmania, believes that this program will be a boon to those young doctors who qualify.

“The rural primary care term will provide interns with hands-on patient experiences in multiple settings that will be beneficial to their careers, regardless of the future direction they will take.”

The first cohort of interns are spread across 4 of Ochre’s Tasmanian medical centres, with a 5th intern doing their placement in an independent medical centre in the Huon Valley.

Dr Benjamin Dodds – Queenstown

Dr Nathan Vos – King Island

Dr Wai Mon Oo – Flinders Island

Dr Shannon Lovell-Green – St Helens

Dr Olivia Chung – Huon Valley Health Centre

For more information on the program, please click here.

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