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Sunshine Coast pathway to medical career

The Sunshine Coast’s first intake of medical students have completed their Bachelor of Medical Science degrees through the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and are now progressing to becoming doctors via Griffith University’s Doctor of Medicine.

The beauty of this new study pathway is that students accepted into the USC degree have provisional direct entry into the Griffith University program at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute which is co-located in the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The science-based undergraduate degree offered by USC’s School of Health and Behavioural Sciences covers the foundations of medical science including biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and immunology. It also builds valuable hands-on clinical knowledge.

Program Coordinator Professor John Lowe said having the course co-located on the Sunshine Coast with one of the country’s newest hospitals was a significant drawcard for future doctors.

“The appeal of this degree is that students know they will get into medical school. Their future is set. The pathway into Griffith University’s Doctor of Medicine means students will be trained in a comprehensive new hospital, which is a major attraction,” Professor Lowe said.

“Why wouldn’t you want to be trained in the best facilities in the nation? Very few medical students around Australia have this opportunity.”

The direct pipeline into the local healthcare sector means healthcare employers will be able to recruit the cream of the crop right here on the coast.

Smaller classes and lifestyle advantages

Four former local high school students are among USC’s Medical Science intake for this year. All 20 of the high school graduates accepted achieved higher than the minimum ATAR of 99.60.

Matthew Flinders Anglican College Sunshine Coast 2020 Dux Justin Holland started the Bachelor degree this year after gaining the highest possible ATAR of 99.95. Justin is a co-founder of food start-up Communibee which won the $10,000 first prize in the Sunshine Coast Generation Innovation Challenge this year.

Justin said it was his dream to be a surgeon and that the opportunity to study locally was a bonus.

“Studying on campus so close to my home means I’ll have time to do the things I love such as managing my honey businesses, going to the beach and fishing,” Justin said.

“More importantly, I will have more time to prioritise my studies than if I studied elsewhere, and smaller classes will mean more one-on-one interaction with my lecturers and peers.”

Other local students include high performers from Siena Catholic College, Sunshine Coast Grammar School and Kawana Waters State College plus one student from Gympie and two from Moreton Bay.

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Medical Science students Alexander Hessey-Tenny, Justin Holland, Nick Harman and Joshua Hudson. Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast News.

The Sunshine Coast has a reputation for healthcare innovation

The Sunshine Coast has a growing reputation for innovation in medical and allied health solutions. The synergistic relationship between USC, Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the local healthcare industry makes the region the ideal location for innovative health investment.

The School of Health and Behavioural Sciences delivers some of the university’s most popular degree programs including biomedical science, occupational therapy, psychology, and sport and exercise science.

The school’s teaching, research and outreach focuses on the prevention of disease and disability in order to improve our quality of life, while world-class research concentrates on the application of new knowledge to programs, policies and practice. It’s an ideal complement to the booming $5 billion Sunshine Coast Health Precinct and adjacent health hub in Birtinya as well as a plethora of allied health services and healthcare disruptors already located in the region.

The sector is already the region’s largest employer. Further investment, a growing population and global demand for innovative healthcare solutions are expected to provide opportunities for qualified medical practitioners well into the future.

The School of Health and Behavioural Sciences’ integrated approach to learning, national accreditations and strong partnerships means graduating students are job-ready in their chosen allied health field.

“Students undertake placements with private health and hospital services, allied health providers and public health networks. This, along with our quality of teaching and appealing Sunshine Coast lifestyle delivers an exceptional student experience which makes USC programs equal to if not better than those offered by metro universities,” Professor Lowe said.

Pick of the crop

Businesses involved in the school’s integrated learning programs develop relationships with students while they are undergoing their studies and get to pick the very best students when they graduate.

“Many students learn here, stay here and then go on to contribute significantly to the Sunshine Coast community in the form of clinical practice or research,” said Professor Lowe.

“It’s also common for graduating allied health professionals to practise elsewhere for several years after graduating and then transfer back to the coast to build their own practices or join established local businesses.”

Professor Lowe says having a state-of-the-art $1.8 billion tertiary hospital is a crucial teaching platform.

“The hospital offers exceptional health care and training facilities. It is pivotal to allied health and medical programs and provides a strong foundation for innovative businesses to establish themselves on the Sunshine Coast. It also provides better health care for the community,” he said.

Dynamic and innovative medical and allied health businesses are invited to learn more about business opportunities on the Sunshine Coast.

For more information, email invest@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or call the Head of Trade and Investment on +61 407 753 645.

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