Undergraduate placements in the remote and rural areas of Northern Scotland provide our students with fantastic and unique opportunities to experience healthcare delivery in a variety of settings, generating a more rounded appreciation of healthcare than would be possible if confined to a large, city-centre teaching hospital.
The University of Aberdeen, due to longstanding relationships with all five north of Scotland Health Boards, is able to offer a wide range of such opportunities to students in their final two years of study.
Year 4 students follow a programme of nine blocks of five-week placements rotating through hospital specialties and General Practice. All students will spend one or two of these blocks gaining experience outwith Aberdeen. The peripheral hospital placements at this stage take place at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.
Raigmore Hospital serves the entirety of the Scottish Highlands, making it a great base from which to experience healthcare in remote and rural areas of Scotland. Students will interact with patients who have travelled from very remote parts of the country and there are opportunities to accompany senior doctors during trips to peripheral sites. Those who choose to do a GP placement in a remote or country setting at this stage could find themselves accompanying a GP on a home visit on Skye or conducting a surgery in the far north of Caithness!
We also offer the opportunity for a group of year 4 students to undertake a specific Remote and Rural Programme. This involves spending the entire year based in Inverness. This programme has been developed for students with a specific interest in Remote and Rural Medicine. Other students wish to follow this programme to expose themselves to new challenges and experiences.
These students will be exposed to the aforementioned remote and rural experiences for the entire year and are encouraged to attend as many peripheral clinics as possible. They follow the same nine block programme as those based in Aberdeen. In addition, there is a programme of specific tutorials looking at remote and rural issues, such as:
- The Challenges of Remote and Rural Medicine
- Remote and Rural Career Paths
- Winter Mountain Skills
- Pre-hospital Emergency Care
The students undertaking this programme tend to become close as a group and are integrated as part of the team at Raigmore.
Students with interests in hiking, climbing, skiing and other outdoor pursuits may wish to choose this programme on account of an affinity for the area’s beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers and beaches!
In year 5, students undertake eight-week placements in Medicine, Surgery and General Practice or Psychiatry. All students are offered the chance to spend one of these placements at a peripheral site.
There is a wealth of varying experiences available at this stage, with hospital placements in Inverness, Elgin, Wick, Fort William, Western Isles and Shetland. The General Practice placements at this stage provide even more choice and variety, with placements in Grampian, Highland, Western Isles, Orkney, Argyll and Dumfries and Galloway.
As in year 4 there is an option for students with a specific interest in Remote and Rural Medicine to undertake more time working in these areas by doing two of their Year 5 placements at peripheral sites.
This spectrum of experiences offers those with a specific passion the opportunity to follow it and those who are committed to specialised work in a tertiary centre the opportunity to spend a brief period gaining valuable experience in a very different setting. From those who choose a specific programme to those undertaking just one 5-week placement, these opportunities are greatly enjoyed and valued by students.
It was an awesome experience with so much hands-on stuff