Scholarships aid rural medical focus

Jamie Pannett and Lori Aitchison are among recipients of Flinders University’s Doctor of Medicine (Rural), Parallel Rural Community Curriculum (PRCC) Sub-quota Student Scholarships, and are gaining valuable rural experiences through the innovative program.

Flinders awards up to 24 places each year in the Doctor of Medicine for students from a rural background who can demonstrate their commitment to a career in rural practice. Central to this rural stream is the internationally recognised PRCC, which enables students to complete their entire Year 3 medical studies in a regional area.

Jamie Pannett recently began his clinical placement in Mount Gambier, and says he has a specific desire to practise medicine in rural areas as he hails from a rural community. Jamie says he benefited greatly from a high school program in Bunbury, Western Australia, that enabled him to shadow healthcare workers at the local hospital. This insight led him to initially study nursing, before a growing passion for medicine saw him successfully apply for postgraduate medicine studies at Flinders University. He points to the Parallel Rural Community Curriculum as the reason why he chose to study at Flinders.

“As a rural applicant, I think it’s fantastic that each semester I can spend a week in my rural location before spending our entire third year of study in the same location,” says Jamie. “This allows me to become familiar over time with both the location and the healthcare services in that area.

“I have always had the goal of practising medicine in a rural location and I believe that through the PRCC I will be well equipped to do so.”

Lori Aitchison, who grew up in a rural farming town north of Adelaide, is also preparing for her PRCC placement in the Riverland. After she completed undergraduate Psychology studies at Flinders, she began postgraduate Medicine and says the PRCC sub-quota resonated powerfully in her.

“I remember the GP in my hometown telling me about the PRCC program when I first started talking about applying to medicine,” says Lori. “I love being able to give something back to these rural communities. I cannot wait to get out and start helping South Australian communities, like the town I was born and raised in.”

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