Stuart Woods - Fourth Year
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Stuart Woods, fourth year student in 2015, tells how doing placements in rural areas has provided him with invaluable experiences and teachings you just don't get in any lecture theatre.
At this stage in his career, Stuart still dreams of finishing his degree to practice in a small community somewhere close to the coast. Having witnessed first-hand (during a 4 week placement in Hughenden) the lack of healthcare and access to it for small, remote, rural towns, Stuart gained a real appreciation of the dire need for doctors out in rural Queensland. Another rural placement in the small, remote town of Young (NSW), Stuart says provided him with invaluable experience and taught him some tricks of the trade you just don’t get in a lecture theatre at ‘med school’.
“I am still very interested in rural medicine and know that for at least some period of time, I will practise in a rural area. At this point in time I am looking very eagerly into the rural generalist pathway”, Stuart says.
In what is renowned for being one of the hardest years in his degree, Stuart has taken on even more responsibility, taking on a series of new roles including Senior Residential Assistant on his college and Sponsorship Officer of the JCU Medical Students Association. “These roles have allowed me to build and develop my leadership skills and are also brilliant ways of getting involved in university life, although they do represent a large amount of work which I have to juggle with an already hectic workload”, Stuart explains.
As do many other students, Stuart feels the financial struggle of being a medical student. He is extremely grateful for the support of the AMA Queensland Foundation through their student bursary program. For him, this means being able to afford to focus on his studies while living on college. “With my younger sister recently being accepted into medicine at JCU, the Foundation’s support means I can be almost totally financially independent and my Mum will only have to support one child at university, instead of two”, Stuart says.