First year medical students visit Wheatbelt

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 3-4-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



From Monday 17 to Thursday the 20 of March, 105 first year medical students from The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus, visited Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region as part of an introduction to rural and remote areas.

Designed to encourage medical students to consider careers in rural or remote general practice, the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery course has found that first-hand experience is an ideal way to encourage students to consider rural placements.

This year, the trip took the students to Cunderdin, Kellerberrin, Merredin and Narrogin. Over the three nights the students were billeted with local families. “The towns’ residents were welcoming and friendly and keen to share their personal experiences of living in their communities,” said Associate Professor Ilse O’Ferrall, supervising staff member for Narrogin.

During their stay the students visited the local schools and hospitals, general practices and allied mental and primary health organisations. They also participated in a farm safety display with the Department of Agriculture and completed some community service.

The community service involved clearing land and planting trees near the visitors’ centre in Narrogin and helping to clear walk trails and planting trees in Merredin’s Tamma Park.

“The purpose of the trip was to experience first-hand living in a rural community,” said Associate Professor O’Ferrall.

“Additionally the students were required to investigate the characteristics of the town/shire they were in – to look at their strengths and assets in the town/shire: what health problems they have, what services exist to maintain and/or improve health, how the existing services are performing, and any special things they need to know about, such as minority groups or people with special needs.”

On the final evening of the trip the students gave presentations to elected representatives, shire staff, their host families and everyone in the community who assisted them with their stay.

Media contact:

Rebecca Cassidy 08 9433 0611, 0408 959 138