Living and Working in Rural NSW
General Practice plays a central role in the delivery of health care to the Australian community. General Practitioners (GPs) provide continuing, comprehensive, person-centred, primary health care to individuals and families in their communities. General Practice is a medical speciality (in some countries called family medicine).
A day in the life of a GP is as diverse as it is rewarding. Add to that, the clinical challenges, opportunities to make a difference to your patients and their communities, a supportive and passionate collegial network and the relationships you will form with patients over a lifetime.
Practising in rural New South Wales (NSW) Australia provides very real rewards: challenging and exciting medicine, excellent lifestyle opportunities and work-life balance, as well as fantastic financial benefits. There are opportunities available in towns with populations of fewer than 1,000 to larger centres with more than 50,000 people.
Rural and remote NSW is made up of many diverse settlements including pastoral, farming, mining, tourism and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which have different social and economic determinants of health.
Rural and remote areas in NSW share common traits such as smaller and more dispersed communities, generally older populations, higher levels of health risks and higher rates of disease, chronic disease and injury. People living in these areas generally have less access to health services with shortages of almost all health professions and health-related infrastructure.
In response to these issues, RDN plays a lead role in providing a highly skilled and continuing medical and health workforce in regional, rural and remote NSW.
Australia is a culturally diverse society with a high percentage of people from European backgrounds, but many other cultures are also represented. As one of the most multicultural nations in the world, Australians are welcoming and inclusive of newcomers from other countries. Much of this can be attributed to an open and tolerant community that celebrates the contribution of other cultures and believes in freedom of speech. Australians accept the differences of other people - and expect the same of others. RDN endorses the freedom of speech and richness that a culturally diverse society brings; however, embracing Australian culture is also recognised and encouraged.
Australia has a high standard of living and one of the best healthcare systems in the world. While there are many and various work opportunities and locations available to doctors, rural General Practice can give you a sense of pride and satisfaction that comes from participating in the wellbeing of a community where you provide complete patient care.
In addition to receiving an excellent remuneration, choosing a rural lifestyle for you and your family can result in the benefit of a work-life balance that is not always available in large cities. Rural and regional NSW offers a mix of smaller and larger towns, many of which are growing cities in their own right. For information about the benefits of living and working in seven of NSW's leading regional centres (Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga), visit Evocities.
Regional and rural NSW offers a full range of recreational and educational facilities including access to public (government) and private schooling in local areas, especially during junior/primary years. Secondary education may require children to travel to a nearby larger town and regular bus services to schools are generally available. Families with temporary residency are likely to pay fees to enable children to attend school in NSW. More information on public schooling is available from the NSW Department of Education website.
A good climate is something readily associated with Australia and outdoor activities are popular. Team sports including soccer, football, netball and hockey are readily accessible, as are other sports such as golf, swimming, horse riding, water skiing and fishing. Bushwalking and camping are also popular pursuits. Rural NSW is a great place to live and raise a family, and where you can be as active or as relaxed as you choose to be.
RDN experience has shown that the successful transition into a community plays a major role in the happiness and overall success of relocation to rural NSW. Some of the most valuable ways to become involved in a new community require little or no financial cost, especially considering the valuable contacts and associations that can be made. Suggested ways to become involved in a new community include:
Australian culture is heavily involved in sport. Whether through adult or child participation in sport, there is a sporting organisation that will meet your family’s needs. Popular sports include soccer/football, netball and tennis. These sports are played both indoors and outdoors and at various levels from local to country representative grades. Supporting family members in their sport can be rewarding at many levels, as a family unit or in establishing friendships within a community. Parents are often needed for referee duties and to work in the canteen at the local sport field.
Parents and Citizens Association
Every government school within NSW has a Parents and Citizens Association (P&C). The local P&C is a good way to support your children at school and become involved in their education. Participating in the P&C can also provide you with a better understanding of upcoming activities and events held within the school.
Not-for-profit community-based organisations comprise voluntary members who contribute their time and energy to provide a community service. Examples include community groups that help the environment (e.g. Landcare), elderly (e.g. Meals on Wheels) and disadvantaged families (e.g. The Smith Family). At a grass-roots level, such groups contribute a valuable service to their local community and at the same time provide an opportunity for members to contribute to society, learn new skills and meet new and like-minded people.
Many rural towns host events based on strong community involvement and support. Examples include farmers markets that showcase local produce, school fetes, charity events and community festivals. Community events bring together rural people and provide an opportunity for locals to socialise. Larger scale and regional events, such as the Scone Horse Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival and Bellingen Community Markets also bring tourists to rural areas.