NSW medical students visit central west to learn rural life

Medical students from across various universities and hospitals recently travelled to the central west to learn about living and working as a health professional in rural NSW.

They 28 students and doctors visited Dubbo over three days from May 3-5, where they toured Dubbo Base Hospital and heard from a range of expert medical speakers during a panel discussion.

They are part of the NSW Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetship, funded by the NSW Ministry of Health and administered by NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN).

NSW Rural Doctors Network CEO, Mr Richard Colbran, said the Cadetship program, established in 1988, was a successful strategy to increase the numbers of junior doctors in rural hospitals.

"The Cadetship program is one of many initiatives funded by the NSW and Australian governments that RDN administers to support a high-quality rural medical workforce, and improve the recruitment and retention of General Practitioners, nurses. midwives and allied health professionals in remote and rural NSW," he said.

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A number of the students praised guest speaker, Dr Louis Christie as "phenomenal" and "fantastic", following his honest discussion about the importance of mental health.

"The mental health talk was the most wonderfully honest, and much needed talk, for us all," said Kirbie Storrier from Crookwell.

Laura Bawden, who's studying at the University of NSW and is originally from Braidwood, agreed and said "The mental health talk was fantastic!"

Overall, Justine Thomson from Braidwood commented that she was grateful to have the opportunity to take part in such a valuable experience.

"The whole experience was great - the panel, the hubs talk, the tours - it was a wonderful opportunity," Justine said.

Under the program, the cadets receive financial support for the final two years of their medical degree, together with mentoring and support, to encourage them to take up rural medical practice.

In return, the cadets undertake two of the first three years of their hospital training in one of five designated rural NSW hospitals - at Tamworth, Dubbo, Wagga, Orange or Albury.