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Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs
Northern Queensland Regional Training Hubs

Discover training in Northern Queensland

Training Opportunities

Announcement

2023 QLD Medical Recruitment Webinar Series

Join us for this exciting series of webinars aimed at informing medical students and junior doctors of their options leading into the 2023 Queensland Intern and RMO Campaigns.

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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.”

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A will to succeed: My path into medicine

18 May 2022

A will to succeed: My path into medicine

THURSDAY 19 MAY 2022 Ep 4 - Career Planning Tips & Tricks If you are unsure about your future medical specialty, join Dr Ashe Coxon from Medical Career Planning for her tips and tricks on choosing a specialty.  Dr Coxon is a General Practitioner, career counsellor and founder of Medical Career Planning. She works with medical students and doctors-in-training to assist them in their career goals, career uncertainty and career transitioning. REGISTER HERE

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Why I decided to stay in North Queensland

17 May 2022

Why I decided to stay in North Queensland

For some doctors, it’s the breadth of interesting clinical medicine and close consultant contact that draws them to North Queensland for their medical training. For others, the clear winner is an easy tropical lifestyle that cuts out the tedious commute and means more time for family, recreation and community. Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Vanessa Lusink landed in Townsville from Sydney to train in advanced laparoscopic gynaecological surgery with leaders in the field and enjoyed it so much, she and her partner decided to stay. Similarly, British doctors Andrew Livingstone and Susannah Bond fell in love with Townsville after arriving as psychiatry registrars and have gone on to help shape their specialty in the region and take full advantage of coastal life with their young family. BreastScreen Mackay Director and Surgeon Dr Wendela Schimmer and Cairns Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Andrew Graham found professional and personal reward in their adopted northern homes, on the doorstep of some of the Sunshine State’s most beautiful natural attractions. Here, they talk about why they decided to put down roots in North Queensland.

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‘The Perfect Mix’: Junior doctors pathway to obstetrics training in the Outback

10 May 2022

‘The Perfect Mix’: Junior doctors pathway to obstetrics training in the Outback

For Dr Sally Magoffin, a rural training pathway is more than a fantastic training opportunity, it’s a way of life. Growing up on a cattle station in Longreach, Dr Magoffin loved the community and lifestyle of the outback. While she got a taste of city life at boarding school in Brisbane, she knew it wasn’t for her. So she headed back up north to study medicine at James Cook University, which set her on the path to discovering her calling in medicine. During a first-year observation placement, Dr Magoffin unexpectedly found herself on an obstetrics rotation and set her sights on the specialisation immediately. After graduating in 2020, she moved to the North-west town of Mount Isa to commence work and pursue obstetric training opportunities in the bush “Obstetrics is such a beautiful and important specialty. It's the job for me that makes me want to bounce out of bed in the morning. It can be very tiring, but you go home with a smile on your face pretty much every day,” Dr Magoffin says. The decision to work in a rural hospital setting is paying off for Dr Magoffin. With exposure to a variety of specialties and cases, supportive supervisors, and hands-on experience, she is a big advocate for pursuing training opportunities in North Queensland. “There's been so much development in the north over the years and there are some incredible doctors who have helped take us a long way towards boosting our workforce and expanding the training opportunities on offer. We’re growing, and it’s an exciting time to be out here. “You'll have the most wonderful time as a doctor in Mount Isa. We have a tight-knit community with the most supportive environment and wonderful training You just don’t get the same hands-on training opportunities as a junior in the bigger centres,” Dr Magoffin said. About the specialty “For me, obstetrics is the perfect mix of surgical and medical skills. It's a really interesting area, you get to care for two people at the same time; mum and baby. And it's just incredibly interesting. When things are going along nicely, it's a beautiful, part of a patient’s life to be involved in, bringing a baby into the world. When things aren’t going to plan, it’s an interesting, fast-paced specialty where you need to think and act very quickly.” The Need for the Community “There's a huge need for good antenatal care and options to delivery your baby locally in the outback. We have such a diverse population, and we have women coming from remote areas who might not have had the opportunity to receive antenatal care yet. The need for obstetric and midwifery-based care in this region is huge, and there's a fantastic opportunity that comes with that. As a doctor, you get to make a really big impact on the region and people's lives. “Having these specialists in Mount Isa makes a huge difference from a travel perspective as well. Without the services here, you would have to travel a long way for something like a cesarean section. That can be expensive and stressful. So with obstetric specialists here, patients get to stay at home, be with their family and enjoy this time.” My journey into obstetrics… “When I was a first-year medical student at JCU, we had to do a short observation placement at the end of the year. I had one week with an orthopedic surgeon and one week with an obstetrician. At the time, I was annoyed that I couldn't get two weeks with the orthopedic surgeon because I thought that was the path I would go down as a doctor. I thought ‘I’ll go to obstetrics because I have to, but it’s not going to be for me’. I went and I loved it! Because I got a taste of it so early on, I’ve been deliberately working towards this pathway as a rural generalist ever since. “I’ve now been at Mount Isa Hospital for one year and I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon. This year, I will rotate through the hospital specialties again, with a focus on obstetrics and gynaecology. Then I’ll spend next year doing Advanced Skills Training in obstetrics.” Training opportunities in a rural setting “I think it's incredibly beneficial to go somewhere rural in your junior doctor years. There is no limit placed on you by going to a more regional or rural site to do your training. You get great exposure to a variety of specialties and cases, you get a lot more hands-on experience, and you get more time with patients. You're not just someone in the background, frantically writing notes on the computer, you're actually interacting with the patients. In terms of meeting certain requirements for specialties and progressing through training, the experience you’ve gained as a junior at a rural site will be so invaluable. “The senior team across all specialties here are incredibly supportive. They focus on getting the junior doctors heavily involved and encouraging them on whichever pathway they want to go. Just the other day I got to have a go at my first ever cesarean section, which two weeks into my second year is pretty unheard of! It was made possible because I’ve got a supervisor who sought out that opportunity for me and was happy to facilitate it.” Work-life balance “It's a lovely hospital community here. I’ve never felt this level of workforce morale anywhere else. You will be so included and welcomed into the Mount Isa community. You get to know your colleagues and the broader community from sporting or special interest groups, neighbours, and people you just meet about town. It’s such a friendly place to be that you could go to the pub by yourself on a Friday night if you were new to town, and you would have a group of friends by the end of the night! You literally can do that in this town. It's so friendly, inclusive and supportive, it's just a lovely place to be.” The North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS) consists of one regional hospital, two multipurpose health services, three remote hospitals, four primary health clinics and five community health centres. Covering an area from North Western Queensland to the Gulf of Carpentaria, the service includes the communities of Mount Isa, Burketown, Camooweal, Cloncurry, Dajarra, Doomadgee, Julia Creek, Karumba, Normanton and Mornington Island. NWHHS serves a population of approximately 32,000 people across s 300,000 square kilometres.  

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North Queensland: A Paradise in Medical Research

9 May 2022

North Queensland: A Paradise in Medical Research

With a whole new level of responsibility, and a lot still to learn, the working life of a junior doctor can be full-on. If you aren’t currently involved in research, the prospect of adding such an undertaking to an already busy schedule can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. As medical students and junior doctors alike are discovering for themselves, northern Queensland is a paradise in medical research. Complementing your hands-on training experiences, you can grow as a doctor by conducting research aimed at improving the health outcomes of our regional, rural, remote, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Across our region, there are opportunities to get involved in a diverse range of translational, high impact research initiatives with James Cook University (JCU), Hospital and Health Services, and research hubs including the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) and Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre (TAAHC). By helping improve lives through research in northern Queensland, you can also shape your training pathway and career in medicine. Here’s how: 1. Research in NQ offers opportunities to investigate unique health issues affecting the Tropics Northern Queensland is a region of varying landscapes and demographics, and with this comes a range of health issues affecting our communities. There are a number of diseases and other health issues that occur uniquely, are more widespread, or prove more difficult to control in Tropical and subtropical regions like northern Queensland. Cardiologist Dr Anthony Brazzale and the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) Cardiac Unit are currently conducting research into the outcomes of Patent Foramen Ovale Closure (PFO) procedures on scuba divers with a hole in their hearts. Dr Brazzale says this type of project presents an excellent opportunity for junior doctors. “Here in Cairns, we’re probably doing the most PFO closures in the country. We have a unique area up here in the Tropics, and we have a lot of divers here, so it provides these unique opportunities. “Junior doctors are collecting data and we help them with the write-up. From medical students to advanced trainees, there are all levels of training involved in research with our unit. If you show the initiative and you’re motivated, as consultants we will always look to support you,” Dr Brazzale says. Making the process easier for clinicians to get involved in research is the Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre (TAAHC). The centre is a collaboration between northern Queensland’s five Hospital and Health Services, the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN), JCU and AITHM. Through an emphasis on translational research, the TAAHC partnership is designed to enhance collective capability in health service delivery, health and medical research and workforce development. The centre also offers funding schemes for researchers and clinicians, from micro-funding to major Fellowship schemes. Find out more about how TAAHC is funding research in northern Queensland. 2. Research in NQ can help your medical specialty training application stand out The application process for medical specialty training can be extremely competitive. Some colleges accept just a handful of trainees each intake. Seeking out research opportunities as a medical student or junior doctor can help open the door to your preferred medical specialty. Dr Kate Swift is a junior doctor at CHHHS who can attest to what research involvement can do for your training pathway prospects. With the support of senior clinicians and academics from JCU, she has been investigating the incidence rates of appendicitis in Far North Queensland. “JCU and Prof Alan de Costa have been very supportive these last two years. The research project has actually facilitated my entry into the training program," she says. Dr Swift was the first author of the research publication published in the ANZ Journal of Surgery in December last year. She commenced general surgery specialty training at CHHHS in January 2022. Dr Brazzale echoes the sentiments of the benefit of research in your application process. “Research can help you in the application process because it demonstrates initiative. You don’t have to do an independent study that gets published in the Lancet, you just need to get involved. It could be an audit or poster presentation at a national meeting,” Dr Brazzale says. 3. Research in NQ can connect you with leading clinicians and researchers Right across northern Queensland, there are senior doctors and researchers with decades of experience who can guide junior doctors in their training and research endeavours. Townsville University Hospital junior doctor Tejas Singh has published more than 30 peer-reviewed research articles aimed at improving the management and outcomes for patients with vascular diseases. Dr Singh conducted his award-winning PhD research under the mentorship of Professor Jonathan Golledge, an academic vascular surgeon and international leader in peripheral artery disease. Professor Golledge heads the Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease (QRC-PVD), located at Townsville University Hospital and JCU. “The support and research infrastructure available at QRC-PVD, JCU, have been instrumental in my PhD. “There’s ample opportunity to collaborate with other researchers nationally and internationally,” Dr Singh says of the Townsville-based PhD program. Dr Singh credits the Townsville University Hospital’s supportive environment and the breadth of clinical opportunities as two of the great advantages of training in Townsville. “As a junior doctor at Townsville University Hospital, you get more hands-on experience and opportunities to develop clinical independence in comparison to metropolitan hospitals,” he says. 4. Research in NQ is well supported Respected institutions like JCU and the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) are dedicated to northern Queensland and providing opportunities for students and doctors who want to help make a difference to the health of our regions. AITHM is Australia’s only research institute dedicated to health and tropical medicine. Based at JCU, AITHM focuses on diseases of high burden in the tropics, tropical health security and strengthening health systems. ATHM has research facilities in Cairns, Townsville, Thursday Island and Mackay. One way you can pursue research as a clinician is through the JCU AITHM Cohort Doctoral Studies Program. One of the first of its kind in Australia, the Cohort Program offered clinicians like Townsville-based medical oncologist Dr Sabe Sabesan the support, resources, and networking opportunities to conduct postgraduate research. “The launch of the Cohort Program was really good timing,” Dr Sabesan says. “It enabled us to examine our model of care while using research as a mechanism to develop the evidence base to demonstrate our impact," Dr Sabesan says. “The Cohort Program gave us a methodology and a proven framework. The PhD process also strengthened different writing skills for me, which has led to writing policy for the state government. “From this project, you can see the legacy impact of clinician-led innovations on the broader health system and the broader communities.” Across the regions that NQRTH works in, there are a number of other leading research institutes: Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation(MIRI) facilitates research and drives innovation for the delivery of evidence and value-based, patient-centred care across Mackay Health and Hospital Service. MIRI supports clinical trials and is active in the new TeleTrial concept involving regional and rural hospitals and health services in northern Queensland. Murtupuni Centre for Rural & Remote Health(MCRRH) aims to build a healthy community and a skilled workforce in and for rural and remote Queensland through education and research. It is the foundation University Department of Rural Health in Queensland and spans more than half of Queensland, including the Central West. Townsville Institute of Health Research and Innovation(TIHRI), a purpose-built research facility at Townsville University Hospital, supports and translates research into innovative, high-quality patient care. Find Townsville HHS specialty research groups and contacts here. Discover more about what makes northern Queensland a paradise in medical research. On Thursday 12 May, NQRTH is hosting a webinar ‘Medical Research for doctors in training in NQ’ as part of our five-part 2023 Queensland Medical Recruitment Campaign webinar series. Find out more or register your attendance now.

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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