Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Bunbury is one of RCSWA's largest sites. As a regional hub it offers a wide range of medical experiences to students, as well as an opportunity to engage with the local community.
The newest of the RCS sites, Northam has a wide range of health services. It offers students a unique immersive experience in the town community.
RCS plays an important role in developing Australia's rural medical workforce.
Our current sites are located across WA
The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia (RCSWA) was established in 2002 to help deliver better health outcomes for people living in regional, remote and rural areas of the state. It has proven its worth.
Peer-reviewed research continues to show that, upon graduation, medical students who undertake a year of Rural Clinical School are almost four-times more likely to return to work in the country compared to others.
The RCSWA began with seven students in four towns; today, it has programs in 14 rural towns where more than 80 students can spend their penultimate year of study under the guidance and close supervision of around 100 professional and academic staff.
The School currently operates within the University of Western Australia’s School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. It incorporates students from the University of Notre Dame under a Memorandum of Understanding which confirms the RCSWA as the sole collaborative, rural clinical school in the state.
Maintaining an appropriate level of rural health workforce has been – and continues to be – a challenging task in enabling the health and medical welfare of Western Australians who live outside our major towns.
A minimum of one-quarter of eligible UWA and Notre Dame medical students participate, spending an entire year in a rural or remote centre experiencing a heightened academic and practical course of medicine.
RCSWA students are taught and assessed to the same rigorous standards as city-based students and they achieve at least comparable results with increased practical experience.
The year they undertake has developed into an enriching professional and personal opportunity; while for the School, feedback from students and communities continues to acknowledge ever-increasing benefits for both.
While the RCSWA course objectives and outcomes are identical to those at UWA and Notre Dame in Perth and Fremantle, respectively, the learning is delivered in a significantly different manner – characterised by longitudinal integration in place of rotating specialty clerkships, along with opportunistic learning embedded in the community.
Clinical placements occur at local hospitals, General Practices, community and remote clinics, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations. In many respects, the 14 sites where RCSWA operates are heterogeneous and, accordingly, are granted significant autonomy in the delivery of the program.
Essentially, we believe the same high standard curriculum is taught in 14 different ways.
We also provide entrée to the community.
Many RCSWA students report deep personal satisfaction by engaging in sport, volunteer organisations or emergency services. This immersion is regularly quoted as providing an understanding of the value and values of rural community life, and as an influencer in determining their future path in medicine.
The logistics of an RCSWA year are supported with collegiate personalised mentorship as well as free accommodation, relocation and internet access.
Each site has an administrative and teaching building and provides student accommodation – in housing owned or leased by the School.
We have an exceptional corps of local doctors and medical staff at the various sites who are generous with their time in teaching and mentoring students. Infrastructure includes office and teaching space, as well as IT equipment, including essential video-conferencing and electronic communication systems to manage the geographic spread of sites throughout the state.
The RCSWA is a decentralised organisation with its main administrative hub in Kalgoorlie, but with leaders at multiple sites across the State.
The RCSWA also has a small city presence in the Faculty of Medicine building on the QEII Medical Centre campus to ensure close contact with prospective and former students and with the central Faculty and University administration.