Recruiting, retaining and supporting General Practitioners (GPs), Nurses and Allied Health Professionals in rural New South Wales, Australia

Community involvement

How can I make a difference in my community?

Tree Changers and Sea Changers are often seeking a new community to contribute to and belong to, something that is not always a part of city living. They also want a better and healthier lifestyle for their kids. That’s where you can play your part.

It can be as simple as introducing yourself to a newcomer to welcome them to town and let them experience, firsthand, that famous NSW country hospitality. Could you introduce your kids to the new kids so they have someone to play with at school?

It might be a cliché but we all know that first impressions count!

What else could I do?

Other strategies that have been successful in rural towns include:

  • Hold a social event, such as a dinner or BBQ, to welcome new health workers to town and invite community members that newly arrived residents would need to know e.g. the Mayor, health service manager, school principal, etc.
  • Where families are initially moving into community-owned housing, ensure the house is ready, clean and welcoming.
  • Provide a welcome basket of locally produced gourmet food such as cheese, jams, olive oils, local fruit and vegetables, etc.
  • Give families information on local services and clubs.
  • Help families find leisure activities.
  • Assist families to secure reliable babysitting/preschool options.
  • Introduce partners and children to local interest groups.
  • Assist partners to locate suitable paid work – if the partner can’t find work, they can feel isolated in the community and research has found this to be a major factor in health professionals not staying on.
  • Make rural students completing a health related placement in your town feel welcome – a good experience during a rural placement frequently results in the person returning to that town, once qualified.
  • When a town collaborates and works towards the one goal, amazing things can be achieved! Remember you are in competition with all the other rural towns in NSW and throughout Australia – make sure your town is the one that people want to move to and stay in because of its warm welcome, its thriving community and its viable health services.