Rural Rotation- Orange NSW
I have participated in two rural terms at Bloomfield Hospital in Orange. Located approximately 4 hours from Sydney, Orange is close enough to access by car yet rural enough to afford a wealth of experience not commonly available in the city.
An example of this pertains to my current position as the MHEC-RAP registrar. I am part of a team that provides a video-link rural assessment service which enables remote communities to access psychiatric care. Many of these communities do not have visiting psychiatrists or access to the most basic crisis intervention tools that we take for granted every day in the city. The beauty of such a term is exposure to unique rural and remote issues including the provision of services to large indigenous populations. Utilising cutting edge tools such as telepsychiatry is good practice for what is expected to become an increasing part of service provision, and it may broaden the scope of our own practice in the community.
Orange also provides exposure to training experiences which are not commonly available in the city. For example, as part of the MHEC attachment I attend a community clinic (Cadia House) which services mainly mood disorders and 'softer' psychiatric presentations that we would not normally have exposure to outside of private practice. This is an attractive complement to the more acute presentations we routinely see on a daily basis as trainees.
Bloomfield Hospital has a forensic unit, an inpatient D&A unit, an inpatient C&A service, CL, long stay rehab as well as acute and subacute units, so essentially most subspecialty experiences are catered to. A trainee therefore has the ability to liaise closely with experts in each of these fields and will have exposure to a variety of patients on call.
One cannot recommend Orange as a term without also making reference to the beautiful countryside and friendly people which add something special to the experience. There is no shortage of restaurants, festivals, and wineries to sample on the weekend or to show off to visiting friends and family whilst staying out here for the term.
I hope this has painted a pleasant picture of this rural attachment. I have enjoyed my time in Orange and would recommend the experience to both basic and advanced trainees alike.
My Term in Dubbo
I am a first year psychiatry trainee. I completed an adult acute term at Dubbo Base Hospital for my second term of stage 1. When I first heard that I was going to Dubbo I did not know what to expect. Apart from having a world class zoo, I did not know much about the town or the hospital!
Dubbo is a large rural town of about 36,000 people. It is 5 hours from Sydney and 2 hours west of Orange. It sits on the Macquarie River, which is a lovely place to gain relief from the sometimes very hot weather there. Dubbo Hospital is a medium sized rural hospital that is currently in the midst of renovation and growth. The mental health unit is connected to the back of the hospital and consists of an acute unit with 10 beds, and a voluntary subacute unit also with 10 beds. It is managed by 3 consultant psychiatrists who visit the hospital from Sydney, as well as 2 registrars and a JMO.
As a registrar I was well supported, and had the opportunity to see a wide variety of psychiatric presentations. Because the consultants visit only 2 days of the week at a time, I was also given a lot of autonomy to see and manage patients on my own. The consultants are a good source of knowledge and training information, and I was made to feel very welcome by all the staff on the unit.
Dubbo as a town has lots going on. There are many pubs and restaurants as well as good cafes (so getting a good coffee isn't hard!). There are also lots of gyms, sports clubs and activity centres, including the art gallery and cultural centre. I joined the gym and a tennis club whilst I was out there, which was a great way to meet other active young people in the area. As I mentioned before, Dubbo runs alongside the Macquarie River, which is great for walking/cycling tracks, and there are plenty of green ovals to enjoy. And of course there is Dubbo zoo, which I would definitely recommend for a free weekend. As a local you can enjoy a cheap year-long ticket, so can take all your family and friends along!
Living-wise I resided in one of the hospital-provided units in town along with the other psychiatric registrar. The unit was new, clean and very comfortable, and cleaners came once a week which was a bit of a luxury. We were also provided 3 free return flights to Sydney, which I fully utilised. The administrative officer at the unit was great in facilitating all of these things during our stay.
Like most other trainees I had heard about Bloomfield Hospital in Orange and was rather disappointed I hadn't been able to go there. However I can say that I have enjoyed my term at Dubbo, and would recommend it for other trainees doing their rural term.