For the past 30 years Dr Silver and Dr Dale have taught medical students from both Melbourne and Monash Universities. Many former students at the clinic have become rural general practitioners, some have become specialists and some are now Professors! The doctors at the clinic have long felt a commitment to teaching students about the challenges, satisfaction and frustrations(!) of being a rural general practitioner. Drs Mayes and Wilson are also very enthusiastic and skillful teachers!
For many years about 4 medical students came to spend a fortnight in the Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic (usually during their fifth year of medical school) observing what happens and participating in consultations. Now, with the establishment of the Regional Clinical School in Bendigo, part of Monash University's School of Rural Health, two fourth year medical students spend 3 sessions (or half days) at the Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic. After spending some time directly observing doctors in the clinic they then are allowed to conduct consultations with patients before they call on their supervising doctor to come into the consulting room so that they can present their findings and conclusions. Most patients enjoy this experience and feel that "two (or three) heads are better than one".
When students attend the clinic a sign is put up in the waiting room to advertise this fact and before they enter the consulting room every patient is told that there is a medical student in attendance.
EVERY PATIENT HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO HAVE A STUDENT OBSERVE OR PARTICIPATE DURING THEIR CONSULTATION. IF YOU ASK FOR THE STUDENT TO LEAVE DURING YOUR CONSULTATION WITH THE DOCTOR YOUR REQUEST WILL BE HONOURED WITHOUT QUESTION!
Please note that by the time they come to the clinic the students are close to the completion of their medical course and will soon be qualified to practice medicine in hospitals. They are very keen to learn about what happens in General Practice especially as most of their teaching is conducted in hospitals. What they experience during their fortnight with us provides them with a very important understanding about how rural general practice differs from practice in the "big smoke" and also from hospital practice.
In addition to contributing to undergraduate medical education, Dr Silver, Dr Dale, Dr Mayes and Dr Wilson also supervise young doctors during their post-graduate vocational training for general practice. Usually such doctors, (also called "GP Registrars") have had 4 or 5 years training in hospitals before they come to the Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic and they are already quite skilled and experienced doctors. However before they can work as general practitioners entirely on their own they need to get more experience and training. Therefore, as part of their training to become fully qualified general practitioners they need to work in a supportive environment under the supervision of other, more experienced general practitioners, upon whom they can call if they encounter problems unfamiliar to them. After they gain this experience they are then allowed to sit the qualifying examination to gain the Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Drs Silver, Dale, Mayes and Wilson are all accredited supervisors with "Beyond Medicine" Regional Training Provider and enjoy their role in training the next generation of GPs.
Currently Dr Jarrod Cairns is working during 2015 at the Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic doing his vocational training for General Practice as a GP Register.
(If we're really nice to him he may want to stay here!!)