Extended Clinical Placement Program

The ECPP commenced 29th June 2009. The program is organised by the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health (BHUDRH) and offers places for four students from each of the universities of Sydney, Wollongong and Adelaide.

The program offers rotations of up to 40 weeks for medical students in their later years of study, in health and medical faculties in far west NSW. The students will be based in several local GPs with a designated GP supervisor.

Accommodation will be provided and is within walking distance to the BHUDRH. There is Internet access in the accommodation facilities and pushbikes and swags available upon request.

Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health

Community supervision

Students will be exposed to a variety of teaching methodologies and while in general practice, will spend two to three sessions doing ‘parallel consulting’ under the supervision of one of the GPs. Parallel consulting is the model where the student sees a patient independently of the GP, taking a history, doing the appropriate examination, developing a differential diagnosis, investigation and treatment plan then presenting the case to the GP. The student only progresses to this stage when the teacher and student feel the student is ready to do so. Until then, the student sits in with the GP observing consultations, gradually becoming more involved in the cases.

The students will be regarded as part of the practice team and will spend time with all members of the practice, the doctors (including the registrar), the nurses, the allied health professionals and the practice managers. The practice managers provide insight into the business side of running a medical practice and hence the interface with our country’s health system.

The students have shared learning sessions at the BHUDRH, and spend the balance of their ten weekly sessions at Broken Hill Base Hospital. Their hospital experience will include general medicine, general surgery, some surgical subspecialties and geriatrics. The students also spend four weeks in the outlying towns of either Menindee or Wilcannia, Bourke and Cobar experiencing remote medical practice. Extended placement students will have the opportunity to fly-out experiences to remote sites. The program is flexible such that if a patient presents in general practice needing urgent surgery, the student may be able to accompany the patient to theatre, observing, or assisting the surgeon, and follow the patient up post-surgery.

In addition to the core curriculum and assessment requirements that the students will have to meet, the Broken Hill experience will offer a number of areas which will value-add to the student experience. These include:

1. Indigenous health
2. Rural and remote medicine/RFDS
3. Interprofessional learning
3. Special Practical skills learned in our simulation lab.

For further information regarding the Extended Clinical Placement Program contact John Walker, Manager, Student Program Services on 08 8080 1241 or Education Program Coordinator, Robyn Phillips on 08 8080 1201.

Broken Hill

The city of Broken Hill is located close to the South Australian border and has a population of approximately 18,276 people (8.4% indigenous) (ABS 2016). The climate of Broken Hill is warm and dry. The average maximum temperatures range from the mid 30s in summer, in the 20s during spring and autumn, to 12-18C in winter. In January and February the temperature can climb into the low 40s.

The town was founded on the silver, zinc and lead deposits discovered in 1883 by the boundary rider Charles Rasp, and was the original home of Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP). It later became the birthplace of unions in Australia. Its other main industry is as a pastoral centre but tourism is becoming increasingly important. The area has been the setting for many movies such as Mad Max and Priscilla Queen of the Desert and is a magnet for artists who are drawn to the quality of the light, the landscape and the vast horizons.

It is a particularly friendly community with a strong sense of family and is a wonderful place to practice medicine, as the patients are very appreciative. There are usually other students in the town as well, including geology and art students and students from other health disciplines. There are many opportunities for extra-curricular activities including mountain-bike riding, bush-walking, rodeos, gymkhanas, several balls eg the RFDS Ball, a choir, an orchestra, drama productions, and there are seven churches.

The Base hospital consists of an 88-bed acute care hospital with general medicine, general surgical, obstetrics, paediatric, emergency, and psychiatric services. The town has a community –based diabetes centre, a child and family health service, an Aboriginal health service and four other general practices. It is also home to the headquarters of the South Eastern Section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Students will discover that doctors can have a great lifestyle in Broken Hill and other rural localities, with many benefits not possible in a city.

Broken Hill City