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Tim Barnes, School of Ru­ral Health I have trav­elled an un­usual path. I com­pleted a Com­merce/

Law de­gree at UNE and diploma of Law at the Col­lege of Law in Syd­ney and prac­ticed as a lawyer in Syd­ney work­ing for bou­tique and large law firms. I then worked for large in­sur­ance com­pa­nies in New­cas­tle and Bris­bane.

My first foray into the med­i­cal world was work­ing at Dubbo

Base Hos­pi­tal be­fore mov­ing to the Univer­sity of Syd­ney, School of Ru­ral Health. I moved to Dubbo about four years ago. I feel com­fort­able in the coun­try hav­ing grown up in Casino (the ‘Beef Cap­i­tal’). When I was very young my dad worked for the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and we lived at the Trangie Ag Sta­tion.

I do a lot of the timetabling at the School of Ru­ral Health

across the dif­fer­ent med­i­cal streams and work out all the lo­gis­tics of the terms that the stu­dents are do­ing. The terms that I look af­ter are gen­eral prac­tice, psy­chi­a­try, ob­stet­rics and gy­nae­col­ogy and pae­di­atrics.

I or­gan­ise the stu­dents: where they have to be dur­ing the week, or­gan­ise their ex­ams, talk to the dif­fer­ent health pro­fes­sion­als to line up when they do their teach­ing ses­sions, and I am there to sup­port the stu­dents if things are not go­ing well.

I am some­one who does not teach them di­rectly, but I am like

a high school co­or­di­na­tor, some­one who helps guide them. I guess it’s one of those roles that is some­times for­got­ten about, the lo­gis­tics type role be­hind the scenes to make sure ev­ery­thing hap­pens the way it should. If you don’t hear from us it’s prob­a­bly a good thing be­cause ev­ery­thing is run­ning smoothly.

When the stu­dents are on their gen­eral prac­tice term we have a

week of tu­to­ri­als that hap­pen on the School of Ru­ral Health premises, then af­ter that first week we send stu­dents to a prac­tice (for ex­am­ple Dubbo Me­dial Al­lied Health) in Dubbo for three weeks for ex­po­sure in that en­vi­ron­ment. Af­ter that we send them to a prac­tice out­side of Dubbo, in Bre­war­rina for ex­am­ple.

These stu­dents may have spent all of their life in Syd­ney so it is

good ex­po­sure for them.

They often com­ment on what a great ex­pe­ri­ence it was,

es­pe­cially about indige­nous health. Our aim is that they en­joy the time they spend out there and hope­fully one day they may choose to be a GP in a coun­try com­mu­nity.

I’ve seen stu­dents go from med­i­cal stu­dent here through to be­ing an in­tern at Dubbo Base, then a GP in Dubbo. Soon we will do

the whole med­i­cal cur­ricu­lum here in Dubbo, and hope­fully we will get more peo­ple ap­ply­ing to do medicine who have grown up here be­cause they know that they don’t have to move to Syd­ney. We will look to place stu­dents in the out­ly­ing towns for longer, and it will co­in­cide well with the hos­pi­tal re­de­vel­op­ment.

I have been with the School of Ru­ral Health for the last 12 months. I have en­joyed be­ing able

to as­sist stu­dents through their med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion. It has been an ex­cit­ing time as we work to­wards the School of Ru­ral Health in Dubbo be­ing able to pro­vide the whole four years of med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion to those com­plet­ing their de­gree through the Univer­sity of Syd­ney.

I re­cently mar­ried a lovely reg­is­tered nurse at Dubbo Hos­pi­tal.

We are cur­rently ren­o­vat­ing our house and I like to do triathlons (badly).

- In­ter­view & photo by Wendy Merrick

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