Roaming back home

They say home is where the heart is and that’s certainly the case for third-year medical student Tionne Seden, who one day hopes to return to the Torres Strait Islands as a rural GP.

The idea has played on Ms Seden’s mind for years, but after two clinical placements in Roma in outback Queensland, she has made up her mind that rural medicine is going to be her speciality.

“Before enrolling in Medicine, I didn’t know there was such a thing as rural medicine and rural generalism,” Ms Seden recalls.

“I was excited as I started to learn more about specialities in the MD because I realised there was a career for people like me who didn’t necessarily want to work in a major hospital.”

After a successful Year 1 Observership in the small country town, Ms Seden decided to apply for her third-year placement in Roma.

“I spent six weeks on the wards of Roma hospital and rotated through the Emergency Department, antenatal clinic and the pre-anaesthetic clinic. I even got to spend a few days in theatre,” she remarks.

“The placement opened my eyes to the variety of cases I will encounter on a day-to-day basis as a rural generalist, which is exciting.

“I remember one case; a man in his 30s had come into emergency following a drug overdose, and all the medical students were helping stabilise him for retrieval. In Brisbane, we would have been nowhere near that patient.”

The connection between rural doctors and their communities has given Tionne a deep appreciation for the role.

“One day, I was examining a patient and taking their history in the hospital, and the next week I was tending to her mum in another clinic.

“Being in a small town, you become part of the community. It’s a sense of belonging I want to take back to my own hometown, and it seems more and more attainable every day.”

Ms Seden will begin a rural placement at the Rockhampton Rural Clinical School next year.

You can support students like Ms Seden by donating to the Scholarship Endowment Fund. Email or call 07 3365 5075.

This story is featured in the Summer 2019 edition of UQMedicine Magazine. View the latest edition here. Or to listen, watch, or read more stories from UQ’s Faculty of Medicine, visit our blog, MayneStream.