Dentistry Placement in North West Queensland
What was it like coming on placement in Mount Isa?
“I’ve had a great time so far. We’ve had 10 weeks here and it’s gone very quickly. It has been a real pleasure getting to know people in Mount Isa, people from CRRH, people from the dental team and figuring out where I fit within the team as well. So I’m a student but I’m seeing patients, I have a supervisor, I have a dental assistant who is helping me and just learning how to manage my daily life doing 8am to 5pm.”
“It was a huge learning curve going from 4th year where you would see 10 patients a week max and half and half lectures and clinic, to going to 4 days a week, 6 patients a day. I have learnt so much about time management, seeing people quicker, diagnosing, doing a lot of extractions, and seeing children under general anesthesia, which at first it was quite confronting but it was a great experience. You also get a lot of experience and one on one time with the lecturer.”
“It’s been a huge learning curve going from being managed so closely at JCU to being almost entirely autonomous in practice and being able to manage patients on a whole rather than just their dental aspects. One of the big things for me was theatre. It is exhausting but very rewarding.”
Whilst you have been on placement in Mount Isa you have had the opportunity to go to some outreach clinics, what was that like?
“The two locations that students doing placement in Mount Isa can go to is Doomadgee and Mornington Island. Doomadgee for me was really enjoyable. The clinician I went with has been to doomadgee dental clinics many times before and has a good rapport with the community. Often in the morning patients wouldn’t arriving until 9:00am or 10:00am but we would start at 8:00am. We would start by cleaning up and doing a bit of admin work. The people we met there were generally quite grateful for the treatment. They only see a dentist once a month so we try to do as much as we can for them.”
“Mornington Island is a beautiful island. Obviously they are very remote and they don’t have many resources, so they only have a dentist for one week a month. A lot of the time we were seeing patients who had been in pain and our main task was to just relieve the pain and help them as much as we could in the limited time we were there. What I found really interesting was that there was “Sorry Business” at the time I was there, so I got to really see how the community pulls together during that time. On the day we didn’t have many patients coming in.”
“I went to Mornington Island and when we arrived it was “Sorry Business”, so it was a real eye opener to have no patients on that day. After that we were flat out. We were seeing about ten patients a day, triaging them, addressing one problem at a time because the que of people was insane. It was a huge cultural shock not being able drink the water and access certain food in the shop, but it was really rewarding and I feel you learn a lot of skills that you can apply in general practice.”
How would you sum up your placement in Mount Isa in one or two sentences?
“It’s not as isolated as you think. The community in general has been so supportive and accepting of everyone who comes in. Come to Mount Isa you won’t regret it.”
“The skill set you learn here far exceeds anywhere else.”
“Everyone has been very supportive at CRRH, people are always checking on you and also at work, everyone at the clinic has been very welcoming. I’ve just felt right as home from my first week. It’s also been really, really wonderful being able to meet people from all different kinds of disciplines.”
By Courtney Quast
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