Western Clinical School

The Western Clinical School is based at three sites: Sunshine Hospital, Footscray Hospital and Williamstown Hospital. The past ten years have seen rapid growth in the services provided at all these sites, with the health service now accounting for over 900 beds.

Students at Western Clinical School complete their clinical studies at Footscray, Williamstown and Sunshine Hospitals. Each campus has its own profile of specialties. The same clinical school staff will support you across the sites.

You will complete your women’s health and child and adolescent health terms at the Joan Kirner Hospital for Women and Children at Sunshine.

Because our students complete all their clinical studies at the one health network, senior students offer formal and informal mentoring throughout all the years.

The local community is characterised by its high growth and its cultural and linguistic diversity.

Fast Facts

  • More than 50,000 people attend the 3 Emergency Departments at Western Health each year.
  • There are more than 120,000 inpatient admissions per year.
  • There are two Intensive Care Units - One at Sunshine and one at Footscray. There is a Coronary Care Unit at both sites and a 24 hour angiography service at Sunshine.
  • Major surgical specialties include breast surgery, colorectal surgery, general surgery, orthopaedics, plastic surgery, upper GI surgery, urology and vascular surgery.
  • Major medical specialties include aged care, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general medicine, infectious diseases, neurology, oncology, renal and respiratory medicine.
  • The Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital and Sunshine Hospital opened in May 2019, with 20 delivery rooms, 39 special care nursery cots and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
  • Over 5500 babies are born at Sunshine Hospital each year. This equates to 15 new lives every day.
  • Sunshine Hospital also includes an aged care unit, palliative care unit, radiotherapy centre and community rehabilitation.
  • The University of Melbourne collaborates with Western Health and Victoria University to conduct research into conditions affecting the local population including diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease.
  • The Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS) is a collaborative research institute formed between The University of Melbourne, Western Health and Victoria University with a focus on disorders of bone, muscle and joints.
  • A new Footscray Hospital will open in 2025.


  • Where is the Western Clinical School located and how do I get there?

    The Western Clinical School is situated at three sites: Footscray Hospital, The Williamstown Hospital and Sunshine Hospital.

    Footscray Hospital is a short tram ride from Footscray train station or a walk from West Footscray station. Bus 410 stops at the corner of Gordon Street and Ballarat Road, just near the front entrance to the hospital. Footscray train station is right next to the Footscray market, one of the most vibrant and multicultural markets in Melbourne.  Some free street parking is available near the hospital.

    Sunshine Hospital is located near Ginifer train station on the Sunbury line.  Bus route 408 passes by the front door of the Sunshine Hospital.  Some free street parking is available within a short walk to the hospital. Sunshine Hospital is about 1 km from Main Street St Albans, which is dotted with Asian restaurants and shops.

    The Williamstown Hospital is directly opposite Williamstown beach railway station and has free parking in the local streets.

    Students have access to student lounges and lockers.

  • What can I expect to be doing day-to-day?

    The hallmark of your clinical years is immersion within the clinical environment.

    You will spend most of your time taking histories from patients, examining them and following their progress in hospital through attending ward rounds with doctors, or attending the operating theatre, Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Department, or Outpatient clinics. You will also have bedside teaching sessions on the wards, usually in groups of 4-6 students.

    These experiences are complemented by structured teaching sessions in the form of tutorials, interactive seminars and procedural skills sessions.

    The Clinical School has an active student society that advocates on behalf of the students and organises a number of educational and social activities.

At the Western Clinical School, we aren’t just told to hit the books. From day one, we were encouraged to learn about the stories of the patients that filled the wards, and of the wider community, through the Western’s unique community outreach programs. By putting us right in the centre of the action, we quickly became valued members of the team with an important role to play. Sarah McArthur, Western Clinical School student 2019