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Medical student Emily Wishart is excited to be one of five final-year students offered internships at Broome Health Campus for 2023.

Originally from Bremer Bay on Western Australia’s South Coast, Emily completed her third year of medical school with The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia (RCSWA) Busselton before heading to RCSWA Broome to complete her final year this year.

Emily said it was a big change moving to the remote Kimberley region and an incredible opportunity to broaden her skills in rural medicine.

“Up here you have the remoteness to deal with, which presents an additional logistical challenge. I found the patient presentations are much more complex and related to Indigenous health, tropical medicine, and even ‘cruise ship medicine’. I think it’s helped me learn to handle multiple issues at once,” she said.

RCSWA medical coordinator and rural generalist Dr Rachel Hall has mentored Emily this year and helped her adjust to Kimberley life.

“Rachel has been amazing with everything. I found all the doctors friendly, supportive and happy to teach at the hospital. There are some interns in Broome this year too and they’ve been very helpful,” Emily said.

The RCSWA Broome final year program is designed to train and retain doctors for the Kimberley.

There were four final year graduates in Broome last year, two of whom are now interns at the Broome Health Campus.

Rachel works part-time in the hospital’s emergency department and the rest of her time is spent teaching with RCSWA. She is convinced the students do not miss out by going rural for their final year.

“Some people tell students ‘you can’t possibly be a doctor if you haven’t done a clinical year in the city’, but in reality the students are getting significantly more experience rurally,” she said.
“We don’t have ENT surgeons or orthopaedics in the Kimberley for the whole year, but when the specialists do come up, the students have access to the specialists alone. The students assist in theatre and go on trips to Balgo, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby and the cattle stations. We also have excellent GP anaesthetists who do regular virtual ward rounds with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.”
“One of my previous Broome students, Dr AJ Parke, was top of her university’s entire year group for critical care last year. Rural students have topped it two years in a row, so they are getting
what they need and more in the country,” she added.

Rachel said there are ‘interesting combos’ in the Kimberley that people may not be aware of such as Renal GPs.

“We have chronic rates of kidney disease in the region and no resident renal physicians, so we have some very highly skilled GPs who manage the dialysis units and renal transplants,” she said.
“It’s a very rewarding career because there is so much variety in your working day.”

Both Rachel and Emily agree that the Kimberley region gets under your skin and doctors will often stay for many more years than they intended.

“There is definitely no going back to the city for me. I have a cowboy partner, horses, dogs, a five acre block and 32 mango trees. This is home,” Rachel said.

Emily is planning to stay a few years in the Kimberley too and potentially become a rural generalist like Rachel.

“I’m keeping an open mind when it comes to specialising. I might do training in obstetrics and anaesthetics, and that is part of the reason I chose to continue on in Broome because it has a really strong rural generalist culture,” Emily said.

Rachel said most of the students’ learning comes from listening to their patients’ stories, not from a textbook.

“I usually say to the students at the end of their assessments ‘crack on’ and just keep seeing patients. Even 27 years down the track, you will see things you haven’t seen before. Listen, be humble and keep an open mind.”

For further information about the RCSWA final year program, email [email protected] or visit

Acknowledgement of Country