Bond University’s inaugural doctors will help address Australia’s physician shortage from January. Whilst the majority will work at Queensland hospitals, especially the Gold Coast Hospital, they will start work in 25 hospitals across four states.
The foundation cohort of Australia’s first private medical school will commence internships after completing a four-year and eight month undergraduate degree.
Bond University Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Stable congratulated the first Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery graduands, saying they represented a milestone for Bond and Australia’s health system.
“Bond’s intense teaching schedule develops our students into world ready doctors in under five years,’’ said Professor Stable ahead of the cohort’s December 12 graduation.
“These students will help address the shortage of doctors in the health system, which has the challenge of dealing with an ageing population and the increase in chronic diseases mainly due to lifestyle issues.
“Training doctors faster is of great benefit for the community. Our first graduands are brilliantly prepared and eager to contribute to providing first class medical services.’’
Bond’s graduands have been accepted for internships at hospitals including Royal Brisbane and Womens, Princess Alexandra, Royal Melbourne, St Vincent’s (Melbourne), Mater Public (Brisbane) and Royal Adelaide.
Since starting in May 2005, the MBBS degree has grown in profile and reputation. However, with a focus to ensure the program offers extremely practical clinical work, and personalised teaching with small teacher to student ratios, it meant only one in seven applicants for the 2009 course were accepted through the selection process.
Gynaecologist Dr Peter Henderson was part of the Curriculum Committee tasked with designing the MBBS program for the nation’s first private medical school - a concept he said was ‘unique’ at the time.
Dr Henderson said the MBBS curriculum paid close attention to evidence-based medicine and provided extensive exposure to the clinical environment. Students dealt with ‘standardised patients’ – mock patients coached to feign specific illnesses in classrooms – to build their confidence before entering real medical environments.
“Now the program is truly established, the Gold Coast’s medical community can look forward to closer integration with Bond’s Faculty of Health Science and Medicine,’’ he said.“This will encourage research and hopefully lead to centres of excellence in years to come.”
Valedictorian Madeline Spooner said exposure to the real medical environment provided students with great opportunities.
“Pretty much from day one we had exposure to clinical placements,’’ said Madeline.
“With our Pre-clinical (placements), we had a lot of one-on-one time with consultants, so by the time we actually got to our clinical placements we were well-versed in communication and clinical reasoning skills.
“There’s certainly been a lot of interest in our class going through, and I think the medical fraternity will be impressed when we start internships next month.’’
Bond University’s MBBS milestones
1989: Bond University opens its doors on the Gold Coast.
2002-03: South-East Queensland doctors and academics started planning the Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery degree in detail. Professor Craig Mellis was appointed Foundation Dean in 2003, and headed most of the planning initiated by Professor Chris Sharpley.
2004: The Australian Medical Council approves plans for a $20 million private, not for profit medical school at Bond in November.
2005: The first Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery cohort sits down to classes in May.
2009: Bond’s first cohort graduates on December 12.