Dannevirke Community Hospital
The Tararua District is a large rural district situated on the east side of the Ruahine ranges, extending from Norsewood in the north to Mount Bruce in the south, and to the coast in the east. RMIP students are based in Dannevirke, one of the main towns in the district with a population of approximately 6500. As well as GP clinical experience in the local Barraud St Health centre in Dannevirke, students go to Pahiatua, a slightly smaller settlement with a population of 3500.
Students are attached to a private organization, the Tararua Health Group. There are three GP surgeries; one in Dannevirke, another in Pahiatua and one in Woodville (both within close driving distance of Dannevirke). In addition, the GP-run Community Hospital in Dannevirke offers a general medical ward, maternity, x-ray, ultrasound, physiotherapy and a wide range of community nursing services. Students are able to see patients by themselves before reporting back to the GP.
The Barraud Street Medical Centre in Dannevirke is attached to the Community Hospital and students are able look after their “own” patients (with GP supervision, of course!). They can follow pregnant mums through their pregnancy, and may even get rung up in the middle of the night to attend a birth! There is also opportunity to travel with acutely ill patients to the base hospital in Palmerston North, as local ambulance staff are usually happy to have a student accompany them. There are also regular specialist clinics in Dannevirke, including paediatrics, surgical, orthopaedic, ENT, mental health, rheumatology, urology-incontinence and respiratory clinics.
The closest tertiary care hospital (the “base hospital”) is in Palmerston North, about a 45min drive from Dannevirke. Students spend time attached to orthopaedics, inpatient mental health, general medicine, paediatrics and O&G. The staff at Palmerston North Hospital are very friendly and generally eager to teach – the only other students in the hospital are TIs.
During the programme, TIs or registrars may also be attached to Barraud Street Health Centre in Dannevirke and this is always beneficial for our students' experience. It is anticipated that students will rapidly become part of the practice team at each site and will participate fully in all practice activities including in-service education, peer review groups and social events.
We have ample fun activities at Tararua Health Group to get students immersed in rural life and we encourage students to appreciate the beautiful walking tracks (in the Manawatu gorge and in the Ruahines), to join local sport teams (netball, soccer, biking, hockey, squash, etc.), to enjoy our famous Tennis Tournament, and our Rural Day with all sorts of activities - target shooting, shearing and drenching just to name a few!
Finding convenient accommodation in Dannevirke is not a problem – the house used year-to-year as a student flat (rented out by a GP who used to work at the practice) is situated right behind the Health Care Centre, as well as being well within walking distance of the local shops.
Dr Marta Kroo
Regional Co-ordinator for Tararua
Rural Medical Immersion Programme