Clinical science degree opens doors to medicine

7 MAY 2013

CSU graduate Ms Emily Clapham is on her way to becoming a rural GP and credits her Bachelor of Clinical Science degree with getting her started.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) graduate Ms Emily Clapham is on her way to becoming a rural GP and credits her Bachelor of Clinical Science degree with getting her started.
Ms Clapham graduated from CSU in Orange in 2009 and used her degree to gain entry into the University of Notre Dame in Sydney where she is now a fourth-year medical student.
“I initially wanted to study nursing, and my marks were good through high school, but my nerves got the best of me and I didn’t perform as strongly as I would have liked in the final exams,” Ms Clapham said.
“When I assessed my options, the Charles Sturt University Clinical Science program offered me the best opportunity to work my way into healthcare.”
CSU problem-based learning lecturer, Dr Sid Parissi, said Ms Clapham was a perfect example of the way the Clinical Science degree could open doors to a range of healthcare careers.
“The course has been specifically designed to meet the expectations of graduate entry dentistry, medicine and health programs across Australia,” he said.
“There is also potential for transfer from Clinical Science into the Bachelor of Dental Science, or other allied health degrees, here at Charles Sturt University.”
Originally from a family property near the village of Ilford, between Lithgow and Mudgee, Ms Clapham said although she would have preferred to study medicine at a rural university, completing the Clinical Science degree in Orange allowed her to make an easier transition from rural to city living.
“It was fantastic to have the support I had in Orange on a smaller campus where I got to know the other students in my course very well and where I was able to form some great friendships,” she said.
“I also found I had great access to lecturers and to the course coordinator whenever I needed it, which ensured I was able to stay on top of the work and helped me achieve strong final results.”
Ms Clapham said the Clinical Science degree and its use of the problem-based learning model, which is commonly used in medical education, was a key factor in her gaining a place in her current course.
“A lot of people take a general science degree with a view to going on to a graduate-entry medical program,” she said.
“But I always felt in Clinical Science I wasn’t just marking time until I could study medicine, I was learning how to be a better health practitioner.
“The problem-based learning structure meant that when I was accepted into medicine the following year I was much more confident because I had taken, and even led, these types of tutorials and I knew how to optimise my learning using this method.”
Ms Clapham plans to apply for a rural internship after the completion of her studies.
“The next step is to complete my postgraduate training in a rural area, then to qualify as a rural GP Obstetrician,” she said.

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