Flinders University medical students making a difference through clinical placements

7 August 2020

Flinders University medical students are rocking their clinical placements. What a difference one student—or a few hundred—can make!

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In the past few months, hundreds of Flinders University health and medical students have been a critical part of South Australian healthcare. It has been a one-of-a-kind learning experience providing further preparation for a successful career in the medical field.

Clinical placements are always a crucial  part of teaching and learning in the Flinders medical program. However, COVID-19 has amplified the importance of clinicals, as they prepare students to handle this or any other pandemic, but also help alleviate a sudden stress on the region’s healthcare system.

The continuation of placements has been made possible by the University’s integration with Flinders Medical Centre and close partnership with the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SAHLN), along with healthcare providers throughout Adelaide, rural south Australia, and the Northern Territory.

Student safety has been a top priority throughout this process. Clear guidelines for clinical placements were written and widely distributed by Flinders’ College of Medicine and Public Health in consultation with medical students and healthcare providers alike.

The College also instigated refresher PPE [personal protective equipment] training and encouraged clinical supervisors and students to negotiate placement activities to allow for continued clinical learning while avoiding an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure for students, staff, or patients.

With these measures in place, 300 medical students in the last two years of their program, 675 nursing students, along with midwifery and allied health students, were deployed to South Australian hospitals and health care facilities.

Liam Ramsey, President of the Flinders Medical Student Society, is one such student and has been working in paediatrics at Flinders Medical Centre (FMC).

“This real-life learning is invaluable. We’ve seen health governance operationalized, witnessed senior clinicians act thoughtfully and with intent, despite their own anxiety, and watched professional practice role modelled in the provision of good communication and a sense of humanity and compassion for sick patients.”

He also pointed out that students “contribute significant emotional and empathy capacity to healthcare” given the increased time they have to sit with patients and comfort them.

Staff at both the College of Medicine and the Public Health and College of Nursing and Health Sciences have also made the continuation of placements a priority. The university is committed to ensuring students fulfill the clinical learning necessary for them to graduate on time.

“We very much want to work with our health partners on how best to support the students during this time, so they have this opportunity for what will be an incredibly important learning experience for them,” says Professor Alison Kitson, Vice-President and Executive Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Vice-President and Executive Dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health, Profession Jonathan Craig, also noted the school’s accountability to the community, as they are “training the next generation of clinicians.”

“Even though COVID-19 has reared its ugly head, all of the usual health problems—asthma, heart attacks, stroke, etcetera—are still affecting people,” Professor Craig says. “So, this is an area where students can contribute as critical members of the workforce, albeit as trainees.”

The Director of the Flinders Medical Program, Associate Professor Rosalie Grivell, said student leaders and the medical program leadership “are extremely grateful, now more than ever, for the strong relationships between students, academics, teaching staff and healthcare providers… when healthcare and education come together, everyone benefits…”.

About Flinders University’s Doctor of Medicine Program

Program: Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Semester intake: February
Next intake: February 2021
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: Rolling admissions. The earlier you apply, the better.

Apply now to Flinders Medicine!


Would you like more information about the Flinders University Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Medicine Admissions Officer at medicine@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.