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Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs
Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs

Discover training in Northern Queensland

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The Round Up: A Medical Podcast

Join Dr Elissa Hatherly for a north Queensland-based medical podcast offering local content for local clinicians. Listeners will hear from passionate and knowledgeable clinicians discussing the approach and management of a diverse range of medical topics significant to our communities.

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A network of medical training opportunities

We connect medical students, interns and junior doctors with resources and opportunities to prepare for specialist training and beyond, creating stronger health outcomes in our region.

Dr Tadiwa Mashavave, Junior Doctor, Mackay Base Hospital

Dr Tadiwa Mashavave, Junior Doctor, Mackay Base Hospital

“It was during my time at JCU that I decided I wanted to end up somewhere rural or regional and I thought I would be able to gain a lot of hands-on skills in my junior years at a regional hospital like Mackay Base Hospital. It’s been great working with other doctors who are as passionate about rural health and the people it serves.”
Dr Hannah Bennett, Rural Generalist and Pain Specialist, Townsville University Hospital

Dr Hannah Bennett, Rural Generalist and Pain Specialist, Townsville University Hospital

"As a consultant in Pain Medicine, I have excellent work-life balance. Townsville is a great place to raise a family and there's so much on your doorstep here. It's just an easy life.” Read More
Dr Anthony Brazzale, Cardiologist, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service

Dr Anthony Brazzale, Cardiologist, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service

“We have advanced trainees who come from Brisbane and want to come back here now as consultants. They tell us this is one of the best training centres in Australia. The opportunities you get up here, you’ll get nowhere else.” Read More

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Upskilling our Outback Docs

25 January 2023

Upskilling our Outback Docs

NQRTH Grant funding enhances rural and remote healthcare services Rural generalists are an essential part of our rural and remote medical workforce. Across private practice, primary health clinics and hospitals, these resourceful and versatile doctors need to be prepared to provide a broad spectrum of primary, secondary and emergency care. The Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs (NQRTH) is supporting our rural generalist and GP registrars through its annual ‘Grow Our Own Grants’. The program funds specialty training opportunities to develop additional skills or knowledge beyond the scope of mandatory training. In 2022, NQRTH awarded grant funding to 15 recipients across North West, Central West and the Cape and Torres Strait regions. The total funding pool of $58,320 was the largest annual distribution since the initiative’s inception in 2018. Among the recipients is Dr Caitlin Hurlock, an Anaesthetics Principal House Officer (PHO) and rural generalist registrar through the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM). Since graduating from JCU in 2018, Dr Hurlock has been based at Mount Isa Hospital and commenced rural generalist training in 2021. She applied for the NQRTH Grow Our Own 2022 grants to further enhance the services she can provide to communities of the North West region. The grant provided Dr Hurlock with the funding to complete an Ultrasound in Rural Medicine course at the Australian Institute of Ultrasound on the Gold Coast. “Ultrasound is an incredibly versatile investigation that can be performed bedside to help aid in diagnosis and disposition of patients in rural settings, where other imaging modalities are limited,” Dr Hurlock says. The five-day course covered a range of foundational skills in ultrasound for echocardiography, Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) scan, vascular, lung, biliary tract, genitourinary tract, early pregnancy and soft tissue ultrasound. Dr Hurlock says the course was facilitated by experienced rural general practitioners who provided clinical cases and anecdotal stories to emphasise the relevance of the teaching to a rural setting. “With the confidence and knowledge the course provided, I will continue developing my bedside ultrasonography skills for the benefit of patients in my next training post at Emerald Hospital. I would highly recommend this course to anyone undertaking rural generalist training!” Dr Hurlock says.

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Discovering a rewarding specialty close to home

6 December 2022

Discovering a rewarding specialty close to home

Principal House Officer, Dr Renee Brown, grew up in the small rural cane-farming town of Ingham in northern Queensland. While her two siblings would go into the family signwriting business, Dr Brown knew from childhood that medicine was the path for her. Training has taken Dr Brown across Northern Queensland and now, after completing an internship at Cairns Hospital, she has relocated to Townsville and commutes to Ingham Hospital. Recently, she shared some of her favourite parts of medicine, her training experience in the North and her advice to fellow junior doctors. What inspired you to choose a career in medicine? I knew early on that medicine was the career for me. My decision to become a doctor was driven by my inherent fascination with the human body and the idea of being a part of a profession focused on helping others.  I completed my dual Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree through James Cook University. I attended the Townsville campus for my non-clinical years, before moving to Cairns to complete the final three years of my studies. What do you love most about being a doctor, and is there a particular specialty that is standing out to you so far? I love that working in Medicine is unpredictable, interesting, challenging, and profoundly rewarding. I like a bit of everything – which is why I chose general practice. I was successful in securing a college position with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) on the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program in 2020. Recently, I have completed the hospital requirements. I will be commencing the next part of my training, as a General Practice registrar, at Bluewater Medical Practice, just outside of Townsville, in 2023, while continuing to work part-time at Ingham Hospital. I have my site set on becoming a Rural Generalist.

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Specialty spotlight: Rural generalist medicine

30 November 2022

Specialty spotlight: Rural generalist medicine

For Dr Helen Fraser, rural generalism has not only offered diverse and challenging medicine, it’s also been an opportunity to champion health equity for rural hospitals and take a clinical leadership role for the region. Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at Ayr Hospital for the past six years, Dr Fraser chairs the Townsville Hospital and Health Service Clinical Council, which gives clinical staff a voice in the management of the region’s health service. Dr Fraser grew up on a farm between Hamilton and Warrnambool in southwest Victoria. “Some of my friends’ parents were the doctors in town and they practised rural generalism before it was known as rural generalism. They were the people who I really looked up to at that time.” After graduating from James Cook University in 2012, she stayed in Townsville for her intern and Registered Medical Officer (RMO) years and completed advanced skills in emergency medicine and anaesthetics before taking up an SMO role in Ayr, 88km to the city’s south. “As a rural generalist in Ayr with advanced skills, we're using all of those emergency medicine skills and then we're using internal medicine skills because we look after everyone on the ward,” Dr Fraser says. “I use my anaesthetic advanced skill for emergency presentations with imminent airway risk, but also with our obstetric deliveries and providing epidurals after hours. We do a lot of gastroenterology procedures, and going forward, we're hoping that more surgery will be performed in Ayr.” Life as a rural generalist The National Rural Health Commissioner, Adjunct Professor Ruth Stewart, and trainee rural generalist Dr Preston Cardelli, a JCU graduate, talk about the rewards and rich experiences of rural generalism.

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Tackling health at population level

28 November 2022

Tackling health at population level

JCU GP registrar Dr Jay Short has been part of North Queensland’s public health response to everything from COVID-19 to monkeypox, bat bites, melioidosis, meningococcal disease, diphtheria, Hendra virus and Japanese encephalitis in 2022. In December, Dr Short becomes the first Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) registrar to complete Advanced Specialised Training in population health in Townsville. Dr Short worked as a remote area nurse across Australia for 13 years before completing his medical degree at James Cook University in 2018. His deep knowledge of the region’s remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has proved invaluable for the Townsville Public Health Unit, which manages multiple disease outbreaks concurrently across a vast area. Dr Short’s JCU supervisor, public health physician Dr Nishila Moodley, draws an analogy between public health specialists and the sci-fi secret agents of the Men in Black films. While the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the specialty’s profile, much of their work still goes under the radar. “If we do our job correctly, no one knows we're there. That's why people don't know who we are. I always tell them, we're like the Men in Black,” says Dr Moodley. “In Townsville, we've never really had an alpha or beta COVID-19 outbreak because we had responded clinically to those individual cases so rapidly that infection didn't get a chance to establish itself here.”

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The NQRTH medical training network:

NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.

Cairns region
(07) 4226 8187

Central West region
(07) 4764 1547

Mackay region
(07) 4885 7122

North West region
(07) 4764 1547

Torres and Cape region
(07) 4095 6103

Townsville region
(07) 4781 3424