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Students reflect on Go Rural roadtrip

8th May 2023
Nineteen medical and healthcare students from across the state travelled through south-western NSW last week on a road trip designed to encourage future doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals to consider the benefits and rewards of a rural health career.

Nineteen medical, nursing and allied health students travelled through south-western NSW last week on a road trip designed to encourage future health professionals to consider the rewards of a career in rural health. The four-day ‘Go Rural’ road trip, hosted and funded by RDN, incorporated GP practice and hospital visits, clinical activities, community events, social functions and cultural visits in towns including Temora, Griffith, Deniliquin and Wagga Wagga.  

OT student Ashley Lawrence at Finley on GO Rural #1 2023“This Go Rural trip provided Allied Health, Nursing and Medicine students an on-ground experience of the awesome work and lifestyle opportunities that they can access in rural communities," said RDN Future Workforce Project Lead Eleanor Knight. "The students showed their interest with a range of well thought-out questions, as well as participating in each element of the trip with eagerness and an open mind.

"Go Rural offers students the opportunity to 'dip their toes' into the rural lifestyle in a supportive environment. The long term goal of these Go Rural trips is to build more sustainable health solutions for our remote, rural and regional communities.”

"Opportunity of a lifetime"

After completing the tour, final year Occupational Therapy student Ashley Lawrence (pictured) said: "The Go Rural trip is an opportunity of a lifetime for a student. Every town we visited was incredible and unique, showcasing the beauty of country life, and providing information about the innovative, sometimes challenging, but most importantly, rewarding experience of healthcare delivery in rural settings. Everywhere we went we encountered a wonderful sense of community, generosity and kindness, every person involved on the journey had an incredible story to tell and wealth of knowledge they were so willing to extend to us. It’s an experience I’ll never forget," Ashley said.

GoRural5Pschology student Alex Murrie was struck by the beauty of the places visited: "The Go Rural experience really showcased the beauty of rural life. We witnessed the generosity of communities, the liveliness of rural towns, and the opportunities that are available to be a valued community member. Like many of my peers, I feel that this experience has definitely confirmed and furthered my aspirations to work in rural health."

The hospitality of country towns was a real highlight for many of the students. "The people that opened their homes to us to show us their community spirit," said nurse student Tara Sinclair. "It was amazing to know that as a future health professional, I will always be welcomed there," agreed Physiotherapy student Vivien Wu.

For Pre-Med student Charlie Aitken, the Go Rural tour was simply an eye-opening experience: "We were given such great exposure to a varied rural lifestyle both inside and outside of work and met so many rural practitioners, so we could get an idea of what our life would look like working out rurally." 

For Med Student Rebecca George, the experience confirmed how rewarding a rural career pathway in healthcare can be: "I was particularly struck by the value these communities place on improving access to quality healthcare, and the sense of inclusion and welcome they provide to healthcare providers who wish to join the rural workforce. The need for more healthcare workers in rural and regional areas is pressing, but it is clear that the communities are doing all that they can to make opportunities available for new recruits, and that a life in such communities can be very rewarding."

Apply to Go Rural

RDN will be hosting three more Go Rural road trips to different parts of the state in 2023 and applications are now open for the second Go Rural road trip which will take place in June and visit Hunter/New England. For more information, or to apply to join the tour, visit the Go Rural page of our website.

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