Monday, 31 October 2016

Medical students for a day

East Gippsland secondary school students found out recently what it is like to be a medical student … even if it was only for a day. Monash Rural Health Bairnsdale, in conjunction with Gippsland Medical Students’ Network (GMSN), hosted 22 students from years 10, 11 and 12 at Bairnsdale Secondary College, Orbost Secondary College, Gippsland Grammar and Maffra Secondary College.

East Gippsland secondary students get a taste for life as a medical student.

The students were involved in an ‘Envenomation’ tutorial with the Bairnsdale Year 4C medical students, delivered by Director of the Emergency Department at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS), Dr Mark Pritchard. This was followed by a morning tea, where the school students chatted with current medical students, clinical staff at BRHS and academic staff about all aspects of medical education, from entry and selection, selection tests, life as a medical student and pathways to a career as a rural doctor.

A clinical skills session saw students divided into groups. Under the direction of Monash clinical academic staff and Year 3B & 5D medical students, they were introduced to Basic Life Support, Basic Airway Management, anatomy of the heart, introduction to heart and lung sounds and mothercraft skills. These sessions were conducted in the Monash Bairnsdale Simulation Learning Environment with use of adult, child and obstetric mannequins.

Organisers said the students found the whole day interesting, especially the clinical skills session which they described as “a fascinating and stimulating learning experience”.  

Friday, 28 October 2016

Bendigo hosts clinical skills weekend

A group of 30 young Monash medical students from Melbourne were given “hands-on” experience at a clinical skills weekend in Bendigo. Organised by students from the WILDFIRE Bendigo subcommittee at Monash Rural Health Bendigo, the weekend is held annually by the student-run rural and Indigenous health Club.


WILDFIRE member and fourth year medical student, Tiffany Tie, said a full weekend involved sessions in the simulation lab and workshops.“The students practised some hands-on skills such as putting in IV cannulas (drips) and put their basic life support skills to the test in workshops run by senior Bendigo lecturer Adele Callaghan,” Tiffany said. “Well respected Bendigo Health radiologist, Dr Damien Cleeve, gave an X-ray interpretation tutorial.”

Tiffany said other MRH volunteers and local junior doctors also assisted with the program. “Our WILDFIRE Bendigo members organised accommodation and meals which were included in ticket prices which makes the weekend very affordable,” she said. “The event is really popular with the first and second year medical students. It gives them exposure to the great program run here at MRH Bendigo.  Hopefully they will enjoy their experience so much that they will decide to continue their medical studies here in the future.”

Thursday, 27 October 2016

‘Real-world’ insights for Monash medical students


Real-world insights into occupational hazards were provided to Monash medical students during a recent visit to Loy Yang B, one of Victoria’s largest coal-fired power stations.While touring the Latrobe Valley-based power generator, year 3B students from the Monash Rural Health Latrobe Valley & West Gippsland site heard first-hand from station personnel about workplace injuries and safety measures.

Year 3B students Rachel Van Zetten (right) and Emily Malia tour Loy Yang B in the Latrobe Valley.

“This trip occurred in the context of the occupational medicine component of our course,” said student Adam Bisiani. “Initially we were run through various cases about occupational hazards that may arise, which gave a ‘real-world’ feel to the theory we have learnt.”

“This was not too dissimilar to learning medicine in the classroom and applying it on the wards,” he added.

Students toured the power station and also learned about the nature of the national energy grid before taking in views of the Latrobe Valley from the station’s 19th floor.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Traumatic scenarios provide valuable learning


Traumatic scenes similar to those more commonly experienced in a hospital emergency department faced Monash Rural Health Bendigo medical students recently when they fronted up to class.

Luckily, the critically injured man they encountered in the school’s auditorium was a simulated patient volunteering his time to help the third year students build their clinical skills.

A simulated emergency started Trauma Day.

A series of simulation-based activities continued into the afternoon, with students rotating through skills stations requiring them to attempt a range of novel tasks, including airway management skills using simulation mannequins and sheep carcasses to learn how to insert thoracic drain tubes to treat a punctured lung.

The range of scenarios were presented to students as part of Monash Rural Health’s annual Trauma Day, coordinated by senior lecturers at the school and made possible by senior surgical consultants and anaesthetists from Bendigo Health who volunteer their time and expertise to help lead the activities.

Monash senior lecturer Adele Callaghan said student feedback following the day was uniformly positive, with all of them welcoming the opportunity for hands-on experience, saying each session supported key learnings in their course and encouraged reflection.

Clinical simulation is used as a powerful learning and teaching tool, providing structured opportunities for students to practice new skills in a safe environment.

Ms Callaghan said Trauma Day provided the chance for students to bring their skills together to work through one scenario, but from many perspectives. “In this case, we had a young man who had fallen from a ladder and sustained a chest wound which could not be seen, however his condition deteriorates as students move through their assessments and it ends up being diagnosed as pneumothorax (where air leaks into the space between the lung and chest wall causing the lung to collapse),” she said.

All sessions are built around addressing this condition, including the problem-based scenarios hosted in tutorial rooms.

Students Zena Barakat and Mark Fogarty learn how to insert a thoracic catheter in a sheep carcass


“This is such an exciting introduction to trauma assessment using simulation,” Ms Callaghan said, adding that ‘fully immersive’ simulation and skills-based teaching is embedded in the year three curriculum continuum.  “However, having this level of simulation engagement with the senior doctors and surgeons from Bendigo Health is really valuable,” she added.

Consultants who volunteered their time to participate in the day were Dr Andrea Noar, Dr Simon Smith, Mr Tony Gray, Mr Manny Cao and Mr Graeme Campbell.