The RFDS is committed to reducing shortages of health practitioners in remote and rural Australia. We support the training and education of medical, nursing and allied health students and provide student placements under agreements with several universities.
RFDS Central Operations have a range of medical and nursing education programs such as the Adelaide to Outback GP Registrar Program, and RFDS-sponsored Midwifery Scholarships, which provide training opportunities from medical/nursing undergraduate level electives to senior postgraduate medical registrar positions.
We also run a Medical/nursing student ride along program which provides for medical/nursing students to experience RFDS operations. This program assists in our long term medical/nursing recruitment strategy.
The RFDS accepts medical, nursing and allied health students at RFDS Bases. Medical students are accepted from universities based in Queensland and John Flynn Scholars. Nursing students are accepted from several universities across Australia during their third year of study. RFDS health staff are often requested by other agencies to provide education and training, for example to psychology and child health nursing students and remote area nurses. The RFDS health staff also participate in the provision of external courses including Early Management of Severe trauma (EMST) and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS).
The RFDS, in conjunction with Queensland Health author and assist in the ongoing review of the Primary Clinical Care Manual, a comprehensive set of guidelines and health management protocols for the rural and remote context.
South Eastern Section
Our medical staff at Dubbo and Broken Hill continue to be closely involved in teaching practice, helping to raise awareness among newly qualified doctors of the needs of people living in the bush. We believe education and training of students in rural and remote areas is key to reducing the shortage of health practitioners in these areas.
In collaboration with the University of Sydney’s Department of Rural Health (UDRH) in Broken Hill, and School of Rural Health in Dubbo, our staff provide training, mentoring and placements for student doctors. In this way we hope to encourage them to undertake rural placements on graduation, ensuring suitably qualified professionals for the future. As part of our academic relationship with the University of Sydney in Broken Hill, three RFDS medical officers have conjoint appointments with the UDRH, participating in teaching and research while also conducting their RFDS clinical practice and primary healthcare clinics.
The successful recruitment of extra doctors in Dubbo also strengthens our local partnership with the University of Sydney’s Clinical School there. RFDS doctors in Dubbo have taken on academic duties and become an important part of the University’s teaching staff. In 2007 Dubbo flight nurses welcomed medical students onto transfer flights to give them first hand experience of the complexities of patient care in such a specialised environment.
Dental and nursing
We have also expanded the number of placements we provide for dental students via our practice in Broken Hill and we offer midwifery scholarships to flight nurses as a way of attracting staff to work for us. On the horizon for the future is the development of a two week emergency post-graduate nursing placement with the RFDS.