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Monash Extended Rural Cohort

Icanttypeasd

Monash BMedSci & MD
Greetings fellow med students, I received an offer to Monash ERC today. I have read the brochure but am still confused. Could someone who knows about this course tell me their opinion of it. Also would doing this course affect where I go as an intern after year 5? Thanks in advance.
 
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OptimistPrime

Guest
I'm going to do ERC and spoke to a 3rd year ERC student to find out some more info

Years 1-2 we're exactly the same for pre-clin as everyone else
Year 3 we spend the entire year learning and doing placements at either mildura or bendigo
Year 4 we have GP/hospital rotations (I think) in small country towns
Year 5 we do a mix of rural and metropolitan placements in a variety of specialties

After ERC there is no legal obligation to work rurally, and you can choose to work metro provided your Z-score allows you do to so (I've actually heard ERC students have the best average Z-scores, but I'm not entirely sure if this is true).

In comparison, in a non-ERC BMP, you'd do more of med school in metropolitan areas, but in your internship year after finishing med school you might have to work in a high-need area etc etc

Here's an ERC student's day-in-the-life:
At the time he was doing 3rd year at Bendigo!

Also I think jelli is doing ERC so maybe they can offer some insight + fact-check my post

:D Personally I think ERC will be awesomeeeeeeeeee
 

squashed

Monash BMedSci/MD I
Yeah I'm looking forward to it too! I was also wondering the time spent in rural areas as it's 2.5years approximately, but do we go back to Melbourne for swotvac and exams? So is it just the timetabled semester that is spent away?
 

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OptimistPrime

Guest
I think that we won't spend any time at all at Clayton in years 3-5, except in the possible (but not guaranteed) chance that we might have some placements at Monash Hospital for a small part of year 5.

By the sounds of it we do the entirety of our learning/assessment at Bendigo/Mildura in year 3
 

Icanttypeasd

Monash BMedSci & MD
I think that we won't spend any time at all at Clayton in years 3-5, except in the possible (but not guaranteed) chance that we might have some placements at Monash Hospital for a small part of year 5.

By the sounds of it we do the entirety of our learning/assessment at Bendigo/Mildura in year 3

Correct and couldn't have summarised it better!
Bendigo has a good hospital and they both have subsidised living. ERC in Bendigo still allows the opportunity to attend events in Melbourne as I have quite a few friends that will drive down from Bendigo or catch the train for events.
 

squashed

Monash BMedSci/MD I
I've heard from a fourth year student that we can choose to sit exams in Clayton or our placement location, is this true? And that ERC students have a higher grade on average due to the really fantastic teaching
 

Icanttypeasd

Monash BMedSci & MD
Could someone who has been through Monash please help me understand this a bit? (pi ?) I was offered an ERC place at monash. But I'm not too keen on the idea of being isolated from the rest of the cohort for the last 3 years. I think someone mentioned on mso that after year 2 we basically don't go back to clayton at all except at graduation. But, if comparing the normal Monash pathway, I think everyone else also does placements both in and out of Melbourne, including rural. Are their placements all in bigger towns, do they have more students with them? If there are 30 ERC students per year, there'd be only 3 or 4 other med students in the whole town with you. Is that different to how the normal pathway would run placements? I think the main cohort also comes back to Clayton regularly, before/after uni terms begin and for MUMUS events - but for someone studying in Mildura or really small towns, that would be pretty hard to do, leaving you isolated from everyone else. Am I getting the wrong idea of how ERC is here?
I'll try and answer all your questions.

1. You are not really 'isolated' post year 2. You can still come back to Melbourne on weekends for social events (Bendigo only). Even if you are Mildura, the med community becomes pretty close knit and they hold their own events.

2. ERC is held in big towns like Bendigo and Mildura so at each site there will be around 20 students. (5-10 non ERC students go there as well).

3. Teaching in rural areas is apparently better and Bendigo hospital is very good ( not sure about Mildura though). I know a few people who transferred into ERC so they could go to Bendigo.
 

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pi

Junior doctor
Admodistrator
But I'm not too keen on the idea of being isolated from the rest of the cohort for the last 3 years. I think someone mentioned on mso that after year 2 we basically don't go back to clayton at all except at graduation.
Everyone is somewhat isolated from the "rest of the cohort" given you don't meet as a big cohort very often. In addition to graduation, there are other times you see the whole cohort: there are of course exams where the cohort unites, various social events (e.g. med ball), and also lectures in Year 5 which mandate everyone coming "back to base".

But, if comparing the normal Monash pathway, I think everyone else also does placements both in and out of Melbourne, including rural. Are their placements all in bigger towns, do they have more students with them?
Yes everyone has to do at least 4 weeks rural, which generally means either a year rural or a rotation in Year 5 rural. Worth noting that even though some people are not ERC, they still may be allocated to do a year or rotation rural against their choosing.

Are their placements all in bigger towns, do they have more students with them? If there are 30 ERC students per year, there'd be only 3 or 4 other med students in the whole town with you.
ERC students actually go to the bigger towns of Mildura and Bendigo. Having been to both as a student - it's not socially isolated, there are plenty of people around to socialise with.

I think the main cohort also comes back to Clayton regularly, before/after uni terms begin and for MUMUS events - but for someone studying in Mildura or really small towns, that would be pretty hard to do, leaving you isolated from everyone else.
As said, the times the cohort comes together is actually not that many times. Certainly by being rural there is no barrier to coming back for events. For example, the Year 3 students at Mildura almost always got all of or part of Friday off so they could travel back to Melbourne if needed be. And from Mildura you don't have to drive, but you can also fly back or use the V-line coach/train service.

You're only as isolated as you want to be. If you choose to be a hermit who stays at home and doesn't come back to Melbourne then that's your own doing.

Am I getting the wrong idea of how ERC is here?
In short: yes, I think so.
 

hyperbole

New Member
Actually for specialist aspirations, being bonded is more of a hinderance than a positive.

As you know, there is a little flexibility in when you can do your RoS obligation. However, both aren't overly beneficial for specialties.

If you do your RoS during intern or post intern years before getting onto a training program, you lose a year of networking opportunities (potentially 2 in NSW) . As you know, there's a medical intern "tsunami". It takes years to get into the majority of specialties. Networking and having references is very important in this process. Having a bonded year pre-specialty training takes away a year to network with key staff and doctors (who will typically be based in big metro hospitals) in your interested specialties. So you're at a disadvantage compared to unbonded colleagues who will predominantly be at metro hospitals during PGY1,2,3 etc..

If you get into a "small" and high specialized specialty and try to serve your RoS during registrar years or once you're fully qualified, the opportunities to serve in that specialty just may not be there or very limited in rural areas.

What you do in medical school has no bearing on specialties at all. Of course you need to study properly and become knowledgeable, know the basic procedures and whatnot at medical school. This is to ensure you're a competent intern once you get there.
 

Icanttypeasd

Monash BMedSci & MD
which I understand, but as someone in Canberra that would be a much longer and more expensive journey to and from home. I guess bendigo makes sense, but Mildura and small towns with less connectivity would be pretty hard to leave on weekends. Or if you did, a significant chunk would just be spent travelling.
Hey umatsitter , I can't address all your concerns but I'll give it a go using my experiences as an interstate Monash student.

Year 3 has no mid semester breaks and a very small mid year break. Even if you were placed in Melbourne it is unlikely you would be able to make weekly trips back to Canberra. You are pretty much stuck in Melbourne.
- with the applications, doesn't your post graduation work as a junior doctor speak for miles more than that as a medical student in a rural setting? If I don't go for ERC I'd be going into a BMP place in another uni, which I think would be more valuable on my resume than my ERC experiences.
Resume is pretty minimal when choosing a hospital. In victoria they look at interviews and mainly what your medicine score is.

Hope this helps :)
 

1234med

Regular Member
Thanks for that, it does really help. Would you know about the smaller towns thing? Is that only in Year 4 and 5 with no work in mildura or bendigo?

I know this doesn't speak for much, but I was talking to a doc (not an opthalmologist) who said that opthal looks very favourably upon rural experience and they have a quota for doctors from a rural background or having rural experience and this is increasing among specialties. Is that not the case then? Also could you please clarify what you mean by "what your medicine score is"?
Yep I've heard this too, but for obgyn. Thought it was only for obgyn, but it seems opthal has a rural quota too (I think this is different to erc/ bonded though)! I think most of the discussion in this thread is saying that rurality won't matter much in internships, but it seems that it can matter for training programs.
 

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Icanttypeasd

Monash BMedSci & MD
Thanks for that, it does really help. Would you know about the smaller towns thing? Is that only in Year 4 and 5 with no work in mildura or bendigo?

I know this doesn't speak for much, but I was talking to a doc (not an opthalmologist) who said that opthal looks very favourably upon rural experience and they have a quota for doctors from a rural background or having rural experience and this is increasing among specialties. Is that not the case then? Also could you please clarify what you mean by "what your medicine score is"?
At Monash you will have to undertake a rural rotation somewhere in your course. 'Medicine Score' is a term to describe assessments that can count towards your 'z-score'. The Z score calculation is pretty complex but it is formed out of the scores you receive in certain exams. Based on your Z-score you can be ranked and generally hospitals will look at your Z-score and preferences to determine your application's success. However, if you are interested in working in a rural area as an intern metro sites are a lot more competitive than rural sites.
 

pi

Junior doctor
Admodistrator
Except earlier in this thread: so while people might fly in/out of melbourne as mainstream students it might be less likely to happen as erc? If we basically lead the same lives as mainstream but are just in rural placements instead of metro, that's different. But it seems like we have no connection to Clayton, while mainstream students seem to touch base there fairly often, and travel back to meet friends and for exams and all.
Not sure why you have the impression that metro people come back to Clayton as a group much - they don't. Literally only in those instances I mentioned. Obviously it is going to be easier to catch up with people in Melb when you live in Melb, but if your friends are genuine they'll catch up with you regardless of how infrequent that's possible.

Also I've heard a few people say that its better to be rural because you're not struggling to get a chance to do procedures like the metro kids, and that its better for your specialisation applications.
I don't think "doing more procedure" translates to "better specialisation applications" at all. I think the difference in procedures is trivial in that by the time internship rolls in everyone catches up to the same point (by necessity) within weeks anyway.
 

hyperbole

New Member
I think most of the discussion in this thread is saying that rurality won't matter much in internships, but it seems that it can matter for training programs.
Nah the topic is ERC(Monash) vs bonded. The point is that in terms of career implications, going rurally for medical schools has none but it does for bonded since what you do in the hospital system(after graduation) matters. So there is a bit more risk(or things you need to research/ponder over) for a bonded student wheras a ERC just has to go rurally during med school but can be unfettered and be more flexible when they graduate.

Certain specialties do take rural experience during PGY favorably. But not necessarily all. The opportunity cost is lost networking opportunites.

For the stupidly competitive specialties like dermatology or ophthalmology, they literally only pick a handful or trainees each year across the country. So the CV required can get ridiculous. A PhD is common amongst applicants. This may not be 100% necessary BUT having research experience(publishing multiple papers) and networking seems to be key to getting a leg up! Its going to be a real slog to get into ophthal regardless.

Ultimately, most medical students both gain and lose interest in all the different specialties during their med schooling an during the intern and pretraining years. So while being goal driven is good,(eg goal of being a dermatologist as a first year med student) its best to keep your options open and see where the med journey leads you.
 

TheBeast

New Member
I personally think ERC May be quite preferable as it will act as a interesting learning opportunity but not have the restrictions like a bonded place
 

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ucatboy

Regular Member
BMP vs ERC: I'm conflicted about which one I should place over the other in my VTAC course preferences. Now that BMPs have been changed to 3 years ROS, it doesn't sound nearly as appealing anymore - does anyone know of the advantages and disadvantages of each course?

Also, how does selection for extended rural cohort places even work? Normally universities rank every applicant's UCAT/ATAR/interview combined score then give the top ranked ~100 applicants CSPs then the next ~30 applicants BMPs but where do the ERC places fit in?
 
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Crow

Moderator Band
Moderator
BMP vs ERC: I'm conflicted about which one I should place over the other in my VTAC course preferences. Now that BMPs have been changed to 3 years ROS, it doesn't sound nearly as appealing anymore - does anyone know of the advantages and disadvantages of each course?

Also, how does selection for extended rural cohort places even work? Normally universities rank every applicant's UCAT/ATAR/interview combined score then give the top ranked ~100 applicants CSPs then the next ~30 applicants BMPs but where do the ERC places fit in?
ERC seems the obvious choice to me. Few years rural as a medical student vs 3 year contractual obligation (with minimum 1.5 years post-fellowship) after graduating - I’d be taking the former every time.

Selection doesn’t quite work how you’ve outlined. It’s more like this: rank the applicants from top to bottom after the interview. Work your way down the list, giving each student their highest preference. Eventually the CSP places run out, so the next highest students will receive either BMP or ERC depending on how they preferenced them. I’d imagine that this year ERC will be preferenced higher than BMP for most students.
 

Crow

Moderator Band
Moderator
Can a BMP offer be upgraded to CSP? How about ERC at Monash?
Yes to the first question - this typically happens in the first few weeks of semester when people drop out of previously accepted offers because they have offers at other universities. Most commonly happens at Adelaide from what I’ve seen but it does happen at the other universities as well.

I haven’t heard of an ERC offer being upgraded before. If you happen to receive an ERC offer you could contact the Monash admissions team at the time and ask them if there’s a chance you’ll be upgraded.
 

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