Have you heard about our Small Grants Program?

QRMFN Small Grants 'Meet and Greet' in Stanthorpe

QRMFN Small Grants 'Meet and Greet' in Stanthorpe

Living in a remote or rural community can be tough! In most cases you’re some distance from your immediate support network; your family and friends.

Why not make use of the QRMFN Small Grants Program to connect with other rural medical families?

The Small Grants Program is designed to facilitate face to face networking and social opportunities for medical families in remote and rural Queensland. There are small grants of up to $500 inc. GST available for events such as:

  • Networking lunch, dinner, morning/afternoon tea
  • Social family activity in conjunction with medical event
  • Social family activity independent of medical events
  • ‘Meet and Greet’ style activity for new medical family/families
  • Personal development and/or information sharing event

The Small Grants Program is a fantastic initiative to ensure remote and rural medical spouses, partners and children are supported.

Submit a Small Grants application today!

2017 RDAQ Family Program

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The 2017 Royal Doctors Association of Queensland annual conference is fast approaching; held in the beautiful tropics of Townsville over Thursday 8 to Saturday 10, June.

The conference is a fantastic professional development and networking opportunity for rural medical professionals. But it is also an opportunity for spouses, partners and children of rural medical professionals to come together. 

The Queensland Rural Medical Family Network, an initiative of and funded by Health Workforce Queensland, will provide the 2017 Family Program at the RDAQ Conference.

The Family Program is jam packed with activities that will engage the senses and show the beautiful north Queensland landscape, attractions and wildlife.

The QRMFN Family Program includes a meet and greet, a visit to the Museum of Tropical Queensland, a social night, exploring the Billabong Sanctuary and a movie night.

As part of the Family Program, the QRMFN Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday 9, June at 9:30am at the Muesum of Tropical Queensland. 

Registrations for the QRMFN Family Program and the RDAQ Conference are still open. Register now for this unique family friendly opportunity. Get to know and support other rural medical spouses, partners and childen. 

2017 Backbone of the Bush Award

Do you know a spouse or partner of a rural doctor who deserves recognition for their outstanding achievements and contributions to rural communities or other individual endeavours? Why not nominate them for the 2017 Backbone of the Bush Award. 

This award acknowledged and recognises spouses and partners of rural doctors who achieve outstanding accomplishments in their own right, while simultaneously supporting their doctor partner and the rural communities they've come to call home. 

The 2016 Backbone of the Bush recipient, Bec Telfor from Stanthorpe, was instrumental in fundraising for the the Australian Breastfeeding Association and local schools and kindergartens, as well as sporting and arts groups. "I feel volunteering has given me much more than I have given, it was almost overwhelming to be awarded for it too!" Bec said. 

See Backbone of the Bush for more information and the 2017 Nomination Form. Nominations close 30 April, 2017. 

Make Use of the Small Grants Program

Developing social connections and strong support networks is important for all people, young and old. For medical spouses, partners and families in remote and rural Queensland communities, those social connections and support networks are crucial!

Many medical families living in remote and rural communities live some distance from family and friends; their immediate support network. Therefore, the QRMFN Small Grants Program is designed to facilitate face-to-face networking opportunities for medical families in those remote and rural communities. This form of interaction helps to retain medical families and doctors within the remote and rural setting.  

Small grants of up to $500 (inc. GST) provide an opportunity for remote and rural medical spouses, partners and families to network; sharing information and sharing common experiences. The Small Grants Program takes a 'ground roots' approach to increase interactivity among its members at the local level.

See the Small Grants Program on the website for more information, including the flyer and application form.  

Gundy Medical Muster - Family Program 2016

The Family Program at this year’s Gundy Medical Muster was far and away the biggest and best we’ve run so far. With 30 families attending, we had a total of 74 partners, spouses and children registered across the three day program. The program has tripled in size since the last Muster in 2014. Our families and delegates were welcomed to Goondiwindi on Friday night with a reception featuring live entertainment, a full sized photo booth complete with costumes, and games for the kids. Saturday morning had options of a locally run Bush Tucker Tour or self-guided shopping tour, before we met for family lunch with face-painting and art and craft activities. We then took the children to the local PCYC for an afternoon of fun and sporting activities. Basketball, soccer, volleyball and badminton were among the favourites with a special room full of giant blocks and mini trampolines dedicated for use by our younger family members. Saturday night saw us having a beautiful buffet children’s dinner before it was time to head off to the movies in our own private cinema complete with movie snacks! We finished the program with a kids cooking class on Sunday morning, before inviting families to join the Gourmet in Gundy festival held in the afternoon.

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QRMFN welcomes a new committee member

Sallyella and her family.

Sallyella and her family.

The QRMFN Committee are delighted to welcome Sallyella Sloss to the 2016/17 executive team! Below are a few words from Sallyella.

My husband Jack and I both grew up on properties near Goondiwindi and have heart for Indigenous communities and remote living. We arrived in Thursday Island in 2010 and fell in love with the location and community. It has continued to suit us as our family has grown to now include Chanelle who is 4 and Madoc who is 2. Jack enjoys the mix of medicine from being a remote island GP, treating PNG patients on Boigu and Obstetrics. Life on Thursday Island reminds me a lot of growing up in small communities in the 70's where kids are raised by the village and run free of most modern cares or pressures. 

The housing of all medical on call staff in one area, close to the hospital, has created a unique little commune of colleagues that I am so grateful for. Around our small grass quadrangle live 18 children, most of whom are aged between 1-5yo. It means that there is never a shortage of playmates, support, or a parent to have a beer with at the end of the day. One negative aspect of living on Thursday Island is that there is a high turnover ex-pats. It can feel as though you lose a lot of friends at the end of each year. But to combat this, Thursday Island seems to continue to attract wonderful people who are committed to improving Indigenous health and contributing to our community. I am so grateful that my children are growing up surrounded by such people and in this amazing community.

Amongst all these positives, there have been times along our journey that have been challenging. It is during these times that Jack and I have been incredibly grateful for the support of the RDAQ and QRMFN Networks. We would not have been able to continue living here without this support and being able to seek advice from amazing mentors in the RDAQ Network. It is such a joy to meet with dear friends and previous colleagues at the conference each year.

QRMFN Family Program at RDAQ 2016

Drumming circle at the Conference Family Night

Drumming circle at the Conference Family Night

The Family Program at this year’s RDAQ conference was another highlight of the QRMFN 2016 calendar. We had 68 kids and 42 families and partners across our three day activity program this year.

The children had a chance to catch up and re-establish friendships at the children’s meet and greet on Thursday night. They were entertained by Tamara the face-painting fairy and balloon animal extraordinaire, as well as our team of delightful nannies. The kids feasted and played games, participated in art and craft activities and even held some impromptu karaoke! On Friday morning, the children participated in Rhythm Culture’s drum workshop. Thank you to all those parents who participated in the workshop – what an experience! All QRMFN members were invited to the concurrent (and slightly quieter) AGM and high tea luncheon. It was then on to Aussie World for an evening of storybooks and wonderlands at RDAQ Far Far Away! There was an opportunity to try out the rides and side shows at the amusement park and then to dinner at Hogwarts, dessert at the Mad Hatters Tea Party (complete with chocolate fountain of course!) and a chance to walk the plank on Pirate Island or get lost with Winnie-the-Pooh in the 100 Acre Wood. On Saturday a day trip was organised to Sea Life Aquarium at Mooloolaba followed by fresh fish and chips. On Saturday night we wrapped up the program with the kids’ Magic and Movies night. Vince the Magician wowed us with tricks and then it was time to settle down with blankets, pillows and movie snacks for an evening of viewing adventure, supervised again by our wonderful team of nannies. 

2016 Backbone of the Bush Achievement Award

Bec Telfer our 2016 BotB Award recipient

Bec Telfer our 2016 BotB Award recipient

Every year QRMFN recognises the incredible contributions made by the spouses and partners of Queensland’s rural doctors through the presentation of the ‘Backbone of the Bush Award’. This Award is presented by QRMFN President at the RDAQ conference Gala Dinner held in June.

This year’s recipient is Bec Telfer, from Stanthorpe. Bec has contributed to numerous community organisations and events, both local and national, since moving to their community 10 years ago. Bec has organised events for new doctors and medical students to meet with other local health service providers, and welcoming them into the Telfer home.  When presented with the award, a surprised and humbled Bec had this to say: “It was really lovely to be acknowledged, I don’t really feel that I have done anything exceptional, I’ve just done what I am able to do. I feel volunteering has given me much more than I have given, it was almost overwhelming to be awarded for it too! And let’s face it, if you have to choose between volunteering towards something you believe in and doing the housework, then… !!

Bec has been instrumental in fundraising for organisations including the local school, the Australian Breastfeeding Association, kindergarten, sporting and arts groups. She also finds time to act as the school’s tuckshop coordinator.  

Professionally, Bec has worked as a casual midwife for Queensland Health, as a community midwife, has run antenatal education groups and spent time as a nurse at a local aged care home. Through all this, Bec has also remained the primary caregiver to the three Telfer children.

Bec is a founding member of the MUMSS (Mother’s United for Maternity Services Stanthorpe), a group that campaigned successfully for improved maternity facilities that culminated in a $1.4 million dollar upgrade to the local birthing facilities in Stanthorpe hospital. Bec was also the Membership Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee for the national Maternity Coalition for several years. 

A quote from her husband James, sums up Bec’s amazing contribution to her community “People think that a town gains from a new doctor coming to town. The greatest asset for Stanthorpe when I came to town was Bec.” 

Alex Benn completes a Diploma of Agriculture

From Alex

Health Workforce Queensland CEO, Chris Mitchell with Alex Benn

Health Workforce Queensland CEO, Chris
Mitchell with Alex Benn

In late 2011 I found out about the QRMFN spouse bursary so applied and was successful. Three years later I have completed my Diploma of Agriculture. During this time I have been managing a cotton and cattle operation in St George Queensland while my wife has been working as a GP registrar at the St George Medical Centre. The qualification has been a high point for me as I finished in the agriculture industry in July this year. My wife Karen and I are currently in the process of purchasing the St George Medical Centre and in getting to know my new roll as practice manager I met with Health Workforce Queensland CEO Chris Mitchell and his colleague Andrew Haywood. During our meeting we discussed QRMFN and its role. Not coming from a medical background myself, connecting the dots between Health Workforce Queensland and QRMFN was great! It’s fantastic to know that the organization that supported me in my old industry is also there to help me in my new one. So finally, thanks QRMFN for your financial support. I would recommend any spouse of a rural doctor thinking of doing some study to contact QRMFN.