Local councils support medical students to go rural

Eighteen rural councils along with the Country Women’s Association of NSW are sponsoring medical students to undertake placements in New South Wales country towns as part of the NSW Rural Doctors Network’s commitment to attracting health professionals to the bush.

The NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) administers the Bush Bursary and Country Women’s Association (CWA) scholarships, which provide students with $3,000 for one year, during which time they spend two weeks in their sponsoring rural area experiencing work and life in a rural community.

As well as spending time with local GPs and other medical specialists, the scholarship recipients visit allied and community health services including the pharmacy, aged care facility and Aboriginal Medical Service.

The 20 participating students who will complete their placements between November 2013 and January 2014 are from the Universities of Wollongong, Sydney, Notre Dame, Western Sydney, Newcastle, New England and the Australian National University.

Former Bush Bursary scholarship recipient Ellen Hedditch, who undertook her placement in Parkes in 2012 said, “I met many members of the local community; from local doctors and nurses to pharmacists, business owners, councilors and local residents. I was given a private tour of the Dish and the mines, and even participated in the Christmas Parade!”

Emily Rushton, another 2012 Bush Bursary recipient who completed her placement in Deniliquin, said all the doctors she was placed with were receptive to her presence and took the time to explain new concepts to her.

“Hands-on experience at this early stage of my degree was fantastic at both cementing the coursework I had already covered, and in reaffirming that rural clinical medicine is the path I want to take.”

The 18 councils taking part in the 2013 program are Bega, Berrigan, Brewarrina, Deniliquin, Goulburn Mulwaree, Griffith, Guyra, Gwydir Valley, Lachlan, Leeton, Moree, Narrabri, Orange, Parkes, Temora, Tumbarumba, Yass Valley and Wellington. The Country Women’s Association is also sponsoring two students, who will be placed in Orange and Narrabri.