Understanding the types of MMI stations or scenarios that you might come across in a medical school interview is super important. Just like with everything else in life, being prepared can help to alleviate pressure and stress. So what does Woop Woop have to do with it?
Here’s the thing. Living in in rural or regional Australia is not like living anywhere else in the world. A harsh and unforgiving environment, inordinate distances from nearby towns, and lacking proper resource allocation, the unfortunate reality of the matter is that things can get pretty tough. Regardless of whether one lives in the city or a rural town, it should not inhibit them from accessing adequate medical care. Problem is, it does.
What are the issues?
Here are just five problems facing rural and remote communities:
Access to to services (usually distance related)
Lack of specialist services (many doctors are unwilling to live in a rural setting)
Differential health outcomes (many varying factors)
Lower socioeconomic standpoint (prevents access to private healthcare)
Lack of public transport services or taxi services (distance and/or population related)
Crazy right? For a list of only 5 issues facing 30% of Australians, it sure does seem like it would be a bit of a setback doesn’t it?
Why do you need to know?
Apart from being a well rounded citizen and understanding the plight of some of your fellow Aussies, it helps to be aware of some of the issues that might come up in an MMI station.
The issues surrounding public health and rural healthcare can arise in ethical issues, problem solving scenarios, and behavioural quandaries. They can simply be asking your knowledge of some of these difficulties, or as tricky as tasking you with the choice of how you’d allocate funding for rural healthcare. The biggest issue with these types of stations stems from the fact that most of us grew up in metropolitan, urban centres. I grew up in inner Melbourne and until a few years ago, was completely oblivious about public health issues in Australia. It wasn’t until I realised how serious some of the issues are that I began to consider them at all. Luckily for me, I worked in two different medical clinics at the time and had the opportunity to discuss with GP’s and specialists about their thoughts.
Do your research.
In this station you want to demonstrate to the interviewer that you keep up to date with the issues of rural life and the issues facing Australia's healthcare system. If you aren’t already well versed with knowledge in this field then it is absolutely necessary that you invest some time and effort into understanding it a bit better. Either go and speak to doctors (as I did), spend some time trawling the interwebz, or talk to some regional/rural locals for their experience.
Finding a few important statistics will help you get your point across while simultaneously allowing you to get ahead of the pack. This type of info is readily available from state government websites and aren’t too hard to remember. On top of getting a step ahead of the rest, having these facts ready can also show that you are interested in this issue. If you feel you don't have enough time, our Fraser’s Interview Training eBook is a pretty decent resource that could help you out of the rut and into more of a groove.
Moral of the story?
Always be prepared. The goal of the MMI’s is to test your capacity for lateral reasoning and critical thinking. Obviously memorising facts won’t make you fail-proof for these stations, but it can be a nice crutch for you to lean on should you need to. Having all the information at hand will always make it easier for you take a stance and show insight on a given circumstance.
Beyond all of that though, there is one crucial aspect to remember when encountering stations about rural health issues; empathy. Never forget that empathy is fundamental for a good human more than just a good doctor. Medical schools want good people. Remember to empathise with others and the struggles they might be going through.
Show the interviewers your reasoning. Show them your insight. Show them that you care.