Med students’ bush jobs better due to difficulties

HEAVY workloads and “potentially harmful incidents” experienced by medical students during remote area placements in central Australia may have a positive rather than negative impact on training, new research suggests.

A study published in the MJA by Northern Territory General Practice Education and University of WA researchers found “clinical workloads can be high and students seen as a valuable ‘pair of hands’ and left to see patients on their own”. One in six medical students had experienced a potentially harmful incident that indicated problems with clinical supervision and administration, according to authors.

However, researchers also noted more students experienced critical incidents than those who rated their placement poorly, suggesting that a “distressing” incident could be a powerful learning experience.

Centre for Remote Health director Professor John Wakerman said most of the students