Encouraging students to become rural doctors
The John Flynn Placement Program (JFPP) was established in 1997. Funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, is an important part of the Australian Government's strategy to attract more doctors to rural and remote areas to address areas of workforce shortage and improve the quality of healthcare for local communities. The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) administers the program on behalf of the Government.
Annual intake of medical students
Medical students enrolled in accredited medical courses at one of 20 participating Australian universities can apply for a place in the program. Each year, 300 students are selected to join the program.
There is one application intake each year, which is generally between February and April. Once accepted on the JFPP, students are placed with a rural doctor and a local contact person for a minimum of two full weeks per year, normally over a four year period. Students are placed in the same community each year and are expected to complete the entire eight weeks of placements by the last holiday period following completion of their medical course. Before applying for the JFPP students need to consider whether they have enough time with studies and current commitments to complete the program.
One on one mentoring giving a range of experience
Students work closely with a rural doctor in a wide variety of health settings and experience one on one mentoring. This type and level of mentoring for students is unique and will supplement the experience of a University clinical rotation in a hospital or general practice.
Experience life in a rural community
Students are encouraged to get involved with the local community, which is a vital part of this program. Interacting socially with local people will help students develop friendships and a strong bond with their placement community.
ACRRM aims to link students to a local person or organisation in their community to assist with social and cultural experiences. This is especially important when students first arrive and are unfamiliar with the local area as it helps them to feel part of the community.
Community Hosts are also engaged to offer suitable local accommodation to students and is another way that the local community supports the program.
The combination of a clinical and social experience that students, mentors and communities encounter on the program make the JFPP a success, and results in some students returning to the community post-program to work in the region.
The JFPP covers the cost of travel and accommodation for students to go on placement and ACRRM provides assistance with these arrangements. In addition to this students are paid $500 per week to cover food and living expenses during the placement.
Mentors, community contacts and community hosts receive an honorary payment as acknowledgement of their important contribution to the program.
What people say about the program ...
The John Flynn Program is so successful because of the fantastic network of people who are involved in it and the amazing communities that students visit while on their placement. It truly is a unique experience and one that everyone involved has found to be life changing. Students who never had an interest in living and working in the country before and haven’t even been to ‘the bush’ often make the ‘tree-change’ and become rural doctors.
Through their placements, students have the opportunity to experience rural and remote life in communities all over Australia from places as diverse as Carnarvon in Western Australia to Huonville in Tasmania.
Watch the videos
Students involved in the program say the one on one mentoring and community experience is one of the greatest advantages of the JFPP. It provides them with first hand experience of the challenges and rewards associated with working in a rural or remote medical practice & health care services. Doctors also find it a rewarding experience to mentor students and see their knowledge and confidence grow.
The program lives up to its philosophy of "Remarkable places and extraordinary people".
If this sounds like something that you would like to be involved in and you want to make a difference, please click on one of the buttons below.
The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) administers the John Flynn Placement Program on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing. For any enquiries, contact the JFPP Program Coordinator or the Support Officer;
Email: jfppacrrm [dot] org [dot] au
Freecall: 1800 231 231
Phone: 07 3105 8200
Fax: 07 3105 8299
Mail: GPO Box 2507
Brisbane, QLD 4001