PAGE 3 PROFILE
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