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Port Macquarie hosts largest regional gathering of ‘rural medical cadets’

15th April 2024
The largest regional gathering of ‘rural medical cadets’ also took place in Port Macquarie over the weekend as RDN welcomed 54 cadets to the region from across NSW.

The largest regional gathering of ‘rural medical cadets’ took place in Port Macquarie over the weekend as RDN welcomed 54 cadets to the region from across NSW, coinciding with the Rural GP Refresher Conference held in the north coast town. 

The cadets form part of the Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetship and Indigenous Cadetship Programs, run by RDN on behalf of the NSW Ministry of Health. The Programs financially support medical students interested in undertaking a career in rural health, who also agree to undertake two of the first three years of their hospital training in an eligible rural NSW hospital. 

RDN’s Future Workforce Manager, Chris Russell, said the weekend provided cadets with a unique and invaluable networking opportunity. 

“We were very excited to welcome the cadets to Port Macquarie on the weekend to have the opportunity to learn, network and meet fellow cadets from right across NSW,” Chris said. 

“Furthermore, they were afforded the unique opportunity to engage with, and learn from, rural and regional GPs which is so important as they plan their future careers in medicine. 

“It’s so important for our cadets to hear first-hand from regional and rural GPs about why they made the choices they did, why they practice where they do and to hear about all the amazing benefits of working, and being part of a community in, country NSW.

“Our hope is that as well as being an amazing learning experience for cadets, they were inspired by their peers and the GPs in attendance to consider a rural career in the future,” he said.  


RDN Cadet, Carl Fayad, praises peers: “These are my people”  

Twenty-two-year-old RDN Cadet and fourth year medical student at the University of Newcastle, Carl Fayad, was one of 53 cadets to travel to Port Macquarie for the RDN Student Day and Refresher Conference.  

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Reflecting on the first RDN conference he previously attended as a cadet, Carl explained it reaffirmed his feelings towards rural medicine, and said the decision to catch up with his fellow cadets at Port Macquarie was one he was looking forward to.  

“Not being someone with rural roots, I still felt straight away so welcome and just thought ‘these are my people’. They’re like a family; very like-minded people all doing it for similar reasons and all there to enjoy it,” he said.  

Born and raised in Sydney, Carl said he was influenced to go rural by a multitude of reasons.  

“Rural medicine offers an unrivalled experience that you can’t get in metro areas,” Carl said.

He also explained that being fortunate enough to always have access to great healthcare, whilst simultaneously seeing first-hand the lack of proper access to healthcare his relatives had experienced living in remote areas of Lebanon, also influenced his decision.  

He said rural health and women’s health are both underrepresented so hopes to play his part, long-term, by possibly looking at continued patient care, acute obstetrics and gynaecology. 

Speaking about the opportunity the Port Macquarie conference offered him to speak to, and learn from, other rural and regional doctors and GPs, Carl said “I feel reassured to hear from like-minded people with genuine knowledge and take value from what they say and how it could fit into my life.”  

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