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RDN’s Cadetship Program “one of the best choices I’ve made”


11th December 2023

Alexis Campbell is five years into her six-year medical degree at the University of NSW and has described joining RDN’s Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetship as “one of the best choices I have made during med school.” 

AlexisAlexis hadn’t always envisioned herself working in the field of medicine. Despite her mum being a nurse, she says it wasn’t part of her plan; there were no other doctors in the family and she worked in the navy for a year after finishing school. Her decision to apply was influenced by her grandmother.  

Alexis’ grandmother was living on their family farm in Warren when she needed to go to hospital in Sydney for treatment. This, Alexis says, is when she realised just how “dire” things were in Warren compared to the big smoke. She was forced to question how many other people in small communities were affected by limited resources and treatment options and, ultimately became intent on wanting to be part of the solution by training to become a doctor and returning rurally to make a change.  

Earlier this year, Alexis took part in the Cadetship Weekend in Tamworth which she described as hugely motivating and reaffirmed that going rural is where she sees herself practising. 

“It was fantastic, a huge motivator, making connections and meeting people who share a similar passion for rural medicine - it helped to see the light at the end of the tunnel too,” Alexis said. 

“I received a lot of advice about 'finding your tribe' at university, but it’s not an alien concept for people to be quite dismissive of rural,” she said. “The Cadetship weekend I attended, meeting so many people in rural practices [who were] so enthusiastic and shared that passion for rural was nice.” 

RDN, on behalf of the NSW Ministry of Health, offers cadetships to medical students interested in undertaking a medical career in rural NSW. Successful applicants receive up to $15,000 per year for the final two years of their medical degree or, for Indigenous students, $30,000 spread throughout the course of their study. In return, they agree to undertake two of the first three years of their hospital training in an eligible rural NSW hospital. 

Further reinforcing that going rural is what Alexis ultimately wants to commit to, was her experience over the last few months doing placements with rural and regional GPs including four weeks at Coffs Harbour, four weeks in Manilla and another four weeks at “Woopi.” 

“Woopi is how the locals refer to Woolgoolga,” Alexis affectionately explains. 

Woolgoolga is home to RDN Director John Kramer’s practice, and Alexis says she had the opportunity to learn so much not only from him, but from the variety of GPs who work there and all have different styles and connections to the local community which she took value from.  

“I had the opportunity to learn more about the doctors’ special interests including Dr Kramer’s special interest in ADHD,” Alexis said. “Just seeing the relief offered to families by him taking that interest in ADHD and the help and support this gave to families made a difference,” she said.  

“Other GPs were interested in skin procedures or paediatrics, and the awesome thing about Woopi is the large Indian population who come to Beach Street Family Practice for more culturally safe consults conducted in their preferred language,” she said.  

“In small communities, one individual can make a huge difference; what can be achieved by joining special interest groups, writing letters and being active not just in the day to day but on a system-level representing the community and advocating for them,” Alexis said. 

While she is interested in rural generalism, Alexis says she’s still undecided about exactly where she will practice but knows one thing for sure, the cadetship has reaffirmed her choice that it will be rural.  

“I want to work to have an impact,’ Alexis said.  

“I could survive in Sydney, but I wouldn’t thrive! I 100% recommend the Cadetship - it’s one of the best choices I’ve made.” 


LEARN MORE ABOUT RDN’S CADETSHIPS:  

There are two types of cadetships available.?Learn more : 

  1. Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetships for Indigenous Medical Students

  1. Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetship 

 

 

 

 


LEARN MORE ABOUT RDN’S CADETSHIPS:  

There are two types of cadetships available.?Learn more : 

  1. Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetships for Indigenous Medical Students

  1. Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetship 

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