Flinders NT Matters
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Northern Territory Clinical School; Medical education; Medical colleges; Northern Territory; Periodicals
vol 7 issue 1 Apr 2013
16 16 168/04/2013 Placement in Katherine is placement in the Promised Land. It has everything you could possibly need and more. If you want to be baptized into medicine with a meek drizzling then Katherine is not for you. Katherine is full immersion. K-town, as the cool people call it (apparently), is a beautiful town- about 10 minutes from Katherine Gorge an incredibly picturesque part of the world. The placement has everything you could possibly need and more. Katherine goes beyond biomedical medicine. You will learn how to work around highly convoluted social scenarios entailing everything including physical, mental, spiritual, social and cultural health. Expect to have all prior beliefs challenged. Openness is paramount. The medicine in Katherine is highly challenging. Tropical, O&G and paediatric medicine is plentiful. Trauma is plethoric. Of all the unexpected things offered in Katherine the most valuable thing is yet to be mentioned. Let me set the scene: Flinders University requires that all students be assigned a mentor for the final 3 years of their course. The purpose of this mentor is not to teach students clinical skills, but rather, give the student someone who can answer queries and give career guidance. I think I can be forgiven for reacting cynically to Flinders proposition. I reacted poorly to the situation principally because our mentors were assigned to us and secondly because getting to know our mentor required the filling out of a pro forma. I was so discouraged by the whole process that I came to the conclusion that mentorship was null and void. Welcome to Katherine. As part of our teaching here we have sessions on public health from an experienced GP and public health physician, Assoc. Professor Fred McConnell. This gentleman from the bush is sincerely a gem amongst the rough. He is eloquent, intelligent, has lived through and seen medicine evolve, and has truly had great opportunity to sit back and assess his thoughts. My sessions with him, that have been one on one, have shown me what mentorship should be. A mentor should be someone who YOU choose to guide you, someone who shares your philosophies. Meeting Fred rejuvenated my faith. I have been lucky this year. I have decided to do some extracurricular study and through doing so have met a second, equally important mentor. This one, Professor Paul Ward shares many philosophies with me, but not only that, his approach to work, efficiency and pragmatism is something I seriously respect. People differ in their priorities and views in medicine and no ideology trumps another. This is exactly why personalization and choice becomes fundamental in student mentorship. Robert Short-Burchell Year 3. Flinders NTMP student Katherine, a town going above and beyond Robert Short-Burchell Le : Robs Mentor, Associate Professor FredMcConnellintroducesstudentstothe Katherinearea. Katherine Remote Clinical School News 16
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