The Rural Clinical School holds a unique and personal memory for Dr Chieh Cheng.
“When I was a rural clinical student in Geraldton, my obstetric training was intense and incredible. It included witnessing the birth of my supervisor’s first child. It was a real privilege. I went on to become a GP obstetrician. I started officially teaching for Rural Clinical School in 2012. When I gave birth to my first child in 2014 – one of my own medical students helped to deliver my baby daughter.”
Chieh’s other strong memory of her Rural Clinical School year focuses on the inspiring mentors under whose guidance she worked.
She holds special recognition for two particular mentors from her time in Geraldton – obstetrician Dr Anne Karczub and physician Dr Charlie Greenfield, while also acknowledging “the countless number of GPs whose passion and enthusiasm” informed and inspired her.
Chieh had the opportunity to see different aspects of her mentors in professional and social settings. She enjoyed the small group learning environments and developed a close relationship with many of her mentors. She also got a sense of the possibility of living a well balanced working life in the future.
Other advantages of learning and training in the country as a student were:
“Resources were more scarce in the country and the whole health system operated on a smaller scale – hence you saw many examples of health professionals who were multi-functional, resourceful and had all their talents on display.
“Continuity of care was one of the most important aspects of medicine that helped to consolidate our learning during our year at RCS.
Chieh originated from the city. She was born in Taiwan and then raised in Perth from the age of 10. She remembers seeing cows in real life for the first time at age 14, when a friend from high school took her to Bridgetown. She developed a fondness for the beauty of natural landscape.
Prior to her rural clinical school placement - Chieh was awarded a John Flynn scholarship which entailed two week placements for four consecutive years in the town of Denmark in the state’s Great Southern region- surrounded by beautiful forests and the ocean.
Happily settled in Albany on the south coast of WA since 2010, Chieh feels she currently has a well balanced working life.
“The nature of my job allows me the flexibility to work part time in the GP office, part time as a rural clinical school teacher, fulfil obstetric on call duties and feeling like I see my family enough. I am very lucky.
“My typical working day can still involve seeing GP patients at the office, then go to the hospital to manage a delivery and then be called to the hospice or a nursing home to review a patient on the other end of the spectrum of life. It’s a big variety that I see and I really enjoy it.