The recipient of a national bursary offered by MDA National and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says a ten week clinical placement in the iconic rural Queensland town of Goondiwindi was "incredible" and enabled her to further build her experience in Rural Medicine.
The MDA National and RDAA #DestinationRural Bursary is offered to seven junior doctors annually, with each receiving $1500 to undertake a rural clinical placement, attend a rural health conference, or attend a skills workshop in a rural town.
Born and raised in Brisbane, Dr Alexandra Radke said she had been hooked on Rural Medicine after spending a year-long rural clinical placement at Stanthorpe Hospital in 2020, followed by a rural General Practice rotation in the town of Warwick in 2021.
A common factor in all my rural placements has been the warm welcome I have experienced.- Dr Alexandra Radke
When the opportunity arose to spend ten weeks with local doctors in Goondiwindi earlier this year, she jumped at the chance.
"My ten weeks in Goondiwindi were amazing," Alex said.
"I was also able to complete a research project while I was there, which focussed on empowering rural GPs and pharmacists to prevent antimicrobial resistance by evaluating penicillin allergy labels.
"A common factor in all my rural placements has been the warm welcome I have experienced...and Gundy did not disappoint. The generous spirit of the doctors and wider community shone through."
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Alex is currently based at Toowoomba Base Hospital, where she is continuing her training. With a special interest in neurology and geriatrics, her ultimate goal is to work as a Consultant Specialist Physician, while maintaining a regular connection to the bush.
"I believe it is incredibly important for medical students and junior doctors to spend some clinical time in rural or remote locations - even if you don't end up working as a rural doctor, at the very least you will have a deep appreciation for the challenges that rural doctors and their patients face," Alex said.
As chance would have it, on her first day working at Toowoomba Hospital, one of Alex's first patients was someone from Goondiwindi.
"Our delight at having shared experiences of Gundy served as a comforting moment of familiarity in a busy regional hospital and a ward that both of us had only recently come to - it was really lovely to experience that connection," Alex said.
Local Goondiwindi doctor and President of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland, Dr Matt Masel, said Alex's dedication to rural healthcare was striking.
"We were very happy to welcome someone with such clear rural intent to our rural GP Intern position and were struck by Alex's patient-centred approach, her keenness to learn and her capacity to contribute to our team," he said.
"We look forward to seeing Alex fulfil her goal of becoming a rurally-focused Physician, supporting Rural Generalists ... in the future."