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Medical Educator focused on giving back

30 June 2017

From student, to senior lecturer and now medical educator, Dr Ciara Ross is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the new generation of General Practitioners (GPs).

Dr Ross is part of James Cook University’s (JCU) General Practice Training team and is a practicing GP in her home town of Mackay.

She said she always had a calling to stay in North Queensland.

“Having a large family network in this area is a strong attraction to stay locally. But also you have those strong community ties and you feel like you want to give back to the community you grew up in.”

Wanting to stay true to her regional roots, Dr Ross chose to study medicine at JCU in Townsville.

“I liked that JCU was situated in a more rural centre. I never felt compelled to live in a capital city, in fact the idea of living in a capital city terrified me a bit,” she said.

“I also liked that their focus of the medical degree was more in rural and remote medicine, which was where I ultimately wanted to end up, working in more of a rural community. I just felt that their degree would set me up the best to support me in my career.”

After completing her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Dr Ross continued to grow her skill set with a Diploma in Child Health, a qualification as a Natural Family Planning Medical Consultant and a Fellow of the Rural Australian College of General Practitioners.

Dr Ross spent two years as a senior lecturer, teaching fifth year JCU medical students, before receiving the call up from her mentor, Dr Harry Jacobs, to join JCU as a Medical Educator.

“Growing up and going through medical school and registrar training, I had a lot of respect for some wonderful medical educators that taught me over the years. I always remember thinking I would really love to do what they do and inspire people the way they inspired me,” she said.

“A lot of the people I’m working with now actually helped to train me when I was at medical school. They’re people I really respected, so it’s really nice now to be working side by side with them.”

As a medical educator, Dr Ross guides Mackay region JCU registrars through their training.

She said JCU is attracting more people who, like her, genuinely want to stay in rural areas.

“I’ve had quite a number of registrars come to me who live in Mackay and want to stay in Mackay, worried that they could potentially be moved. I am quite happy to be able to reassure them that if Mackay is the place they want to be, then generally they can stay here.”

“There is a new generation of doctors coming through who are really interested in remote medicine and want to work in regional hospitals. I think maybe years gone by the epitome of medicine was working in a tertiary centre, but I think people are genuinely chasing these rural jobs now because they are a bit different and exciting.“

Dr Ross encourages medical students to consider becoming a GP for an exciting and fulfilling career.

“It’s a very rewarding career that allows you variety in medicine. It’s exciting because you never quite know what’s going to walk through your door from one day to the next.

“I would recommend JCU for GP registrar training because they offer good quality and supportive education in a variety of training posts with experienced supervisors.

“JCU they has the staff and resources of a university with experience in post graduate education, so you know you will be in good hands.

“The program also prepares registrars well to face the college exams, with lots of practice throughout the program and additional support for struggling registrars.”

Find out more about GMT training opportunities by visiting

JCU Stories
JCU Stories

James Cook University’s GP training program supports registrars to live, learn and work alongside inspirational educators, supervisors and mentors in diverse regional, rural and remote locations across Queensland.

Why train with JCU
Why train with JCU

Looking for GP training with a difference? Find out more about JCU's training program. 

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James Cook University,
Townsville QLD 4811