About us

The Rural Clinical School is located at four large regional centres in country Victoria. As a student at our clinical school you will train in our associated regional hospitals.

Our Schools

The Rural Clinical School is located at four large regional centres in country Victoria; Ballarat, Bendigo (in partnership with Monash University) Shepparton and Wangaratta. As a student at our clinical school you will train in our associated regional hospitals. Our hospitals provide a wide variety of interesting clinical experience with at least an equivalent, if not greater, patient to student load to urban teaching hospitals, but in a smaller student friendly rural environment. In addition, students experience a warm country welcome, and develop close working relationships with staff and health service colleagues, which all contribute to a highly supportive environment. The Rural Clinical School has state of the art campus facilities at all sites, including high fidelity clinical skills simulation facilities and excellent IT access. There are train services to all Rural Clinical School towns, and all towns are easily accessible via freeway. Travel times from Melbourne are: Ballarat, one hour; Bendigo, two hours; Shepparton, two hours; and Wangaratta, two and half hours.

The Rural Clinical School provides subsidised student accommodation at all of its campuses. All accommodation is fully furnished, self catering, with internet access for study purposes. Accommodation facilities are either located on campus or close to partner hospitals.

There are opportunities for part time employment, either at the Rural Clinical School campus or nearby. And the Rural Clinical School has bursaries available for students with dependant families who would prefer to live in private accommodation.

Each of the towns in which the Rural Clinical School is located are vibrant communities with great amenities, cultural highlights and natural wonders close by for you to experience. Students love getting involved in community life, and have found the towns and the locals to be friendly and welcoming. The Rural Clinical School student club 'Moovin' Health' is very active and will help you settle in to feel right at home.

Academics at the Rural Clinical School have research interests in developmental disabilities, health promotion, mental health and primary health care. The Rural Clinical School is also closely engaged with its local Aboriginal communities.

Fast Facts

  • All associated hospitals provide surgical, medical, paediatric, obstetrics and gynaecology, intensive care, emergency, rehabilitation and mental health services
  • Easy access to the city from all sites via private vehicle and rail/bus services
  • Ballarat Health services over 792 beds
  • Bendigo Health has over 660 beds
  • Goulburn Valley Health (Shepparton) has over 250 beds
  • North East Health Wangaratta has over 220 beds
  • We have a college-like atmosphere as most students live in our accommodation
  • We are close to many areas of outstanding natural beauty including snowfields and opportunities to practice alpine medicine
  • Don't all the interesting/complicated procedures get sent to Melbourne?

    The questions to really ask are:

    • Will I miss out on something I need to know for an exam?
      Exam questions are derived from the common core conditions, which means you need to know about hypertension and diabetes which exist everywhere, not cardiac transplants which occur in one hospital. In fact if you are someone who learns best from seeing patients (highly recommended, and effective learning technique) then the combination of fewer students and friendly patients makes the Rural Clinical School a great place to learn.
    • Will I miss out on seeing something really interesting?
      It depends on your interests, but it quickly becomes clear to students that no matter where you are there are always more things to see, do, learn and practice than there are hours in the day: each with their own capacity to engage you. The Scholarly Selective provides the opportunity to systematically pursue specific interests.

    Also relevant are the number of people above you in the hierarchical pecking order. At the Rural Clinical School, especially if you show enthusiasm, you could be first or second assistant in operations where you can see and touch everything. At tertiary hospitals where there are more specialised operations going on, getting near the operating table is often a huge challenge. If there is an area you are passionate about, for example trauma surgery, sports medicine, transplant surgery, infectious diseases etc, then the best way to learn more about these areas is to do your Vocational Selective or elective somewhere that specializes in it and spend four weeks dedicated to it so you can actually get involved.

  • Will studying at the Rural Clinical School decrease my chance of getting an Internship at a metropolitan hospital?

    Attending the Rural Clinical School will not negatively impact on your intern application. Examination results of students at the Rural Clinical School are routinely equal, or better than, those of the other Clinical Schools and many hospitals actually recognise that students from the Rural Clinical School often have more developed practical skills than their metropolitan counterparts. Sometimes it can be easier to get more detailed references at the Rural Clinical School because you spend more time one on one with the consultants which means they know who you are. In fact over 50% of students from our 2011 Rural Clinical School cohort were accepted for internships at metropolitan (Inner/East) hospitals and a further 25% at North/West. 87% of the 2011 graduating cohort accepted an internship that was one of their top three preferences.

  • Is it true that the curriculum at the Rural Clinical School is more geared toward General Practice?

    The Rural Clinical School is not geared towards general practice anymore than any other clinical school. All clinical schools follow the same curriculum and sit the same exams.

    The students in the Extended Rural Cohort (ERC) when undertaking their Year 3 "Community Based Year", are placed in general practice for two days a week. The curriculum and formal teaching program remains the same as all other Year 3 MD students and the ERC students sit the same exams. There is no bar to Rural Clinical School students pursuing specialty training.

  • What does the student accommodation offer?

    The Rural Health campus provides subsidised student accommodation at all of its campuses. All accommodation is fully furnished, self catering, with internet access for study purposes. Accommodation facilities are either located on campus or close to partner hospitals.

    • Ballarat - We have a 34 bedroom residence (Midlands) in Ballarat plus other share accommodation. Midlands is approximately 3-4km's away from the Rural Clinical School and Ballarat Health Service. New student accommodation is under construction and it is anticipated that students will be housed there from Semester 2 2013.
    • Bendigo – Bendigo Regional Clinical School (Monash University) offers student accommodation with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities situated 2km's away from Bendigo Health and Bendigo Regional Clinical School teaching facilities.
    • Shepparton – We have six 11 bedroom 'pods' located on campus at the Rural Clinical School opposite Goulburn Valley Health.
    • Wangaratta - We have a 32 bedroom residence located approximately 3km's away from the Rural Clinical School and Northeast Health Wangaratta.

    All bedrooms in Rural Health campus accommodation have a bed (either single or double), a desk with chair, bookcase, wardrobe, drawers and bedside table. Mattress protectors are provided.

The country offers an amazing chance to get heavily involved in patient care. I have loved living with a great bunch of students who were not only my colleagues but my friends. Matthew Shears – MBBS Rural Clinical School Student 2011 graduating cohort