Quality education is the driving force behind Dr Peter Jones, Bond University’s new Deputy Dean of Medicine.
Peter took up the post in early January, relocating to the Gold Coast from Tamworth, where he has spent the past six years running rural health education programs for the University of Newcastle.
He established the University Department of Rural Health, Northern New South Wales in Tamworth in 2002 and was appointed the foundation Director of Newcastle University Medical School’s Rural Clinical School in 2006.
A consultant paediatrician, Peter says his career thus far has managed to blend his significant interests – medicine, children and education.
"When I was at school there were two things I thought I really wanted to do – one was to be a school teacher and the other was to be a family GP," explains Peter.
"My father was a doctor (a radiologist) and in the end I opted for paediatrics. I soon became interested in medical education so what I do now is really a nice mix."
Peter says he chose Bond because it offered the opportunity to be involved with a new and developing program and the chance to put his own mark on it.
"I was attracted to the notion that Bond’s central mission is to deliver really high quality education programs.
"With this emphasis it means Bond commits more staffing and resources to education than what a large public institution does.
"At a public university, there is often very large competing interests between allocating scarce resources into research or teaching. Often the only way to gain more resources for teaching is to have higher class sizes.
"This is a major point of difference with Bond. All around the country medical schools have had to respond to the need of training more doctors with increased class sizes, but the price the schools pay is the loss of collegiality that you get with a small class cohort."
Peter recalls that the friendships he developed with fellow students while at the University of Sydney came from living on campus.
"The friendships we developed were based on close and intimate relationships with classmates. I think you can achieve this with an institution that has small group learning as part of its focus, and I really think this is what Bond can offer."
As he manages the clinical skills training program for the medical students, Peter is focusing on developing strong links with Bond’s clinical partners.
"I need to ensure the staff are fully engaged with our clinical partners so they can get an understanding of how we produce our end product.
"What we’re aiming for is producing good students who wind up with all the essential knowledge they need to be good doctors but also all those extra personal skills that will make them good ambassadors for the degree as they move into the workforce in the next three or four years."
Peter’s love of children is now self-evident – he and his wife Therese have five children, aged between five and 15.