It had always been my intention to practice medicine rurally, though my path has been a circuitous one. Now, about to graduate from medical school, and with an internship secured in Wagga, I look forward to all of the things that rural practice has to offer.
Growing up, my family was involved extensively in the welfare of the rural community in which we lived. The community was Warwick, an agricultural town of about 10,000 people within the Darling Downs district. I was privy to many of the challenges often faced by residents of smaller Australian towns. It was through my formative years and experiences in a rural community that I came to know many of the benefits of living in such a place. The strength and support of rural Australian communities, and the multi-faceted role of the rural health practitioner in patient-centred care, are some of the many of its great and unique attributes.
Admittedly, it took a departure to the ‘big smoke’ for me to realise the value of my rural upbringing.
My journey through medical school to date has certainly solidified my desire to work in and commitment to rural and remote medicine. Most influential in my decision to continue pursuing a career in rural medicine, though, has been the incredibly rich exposure to this setting during my clinical years at the University of Notre Dame’s Wagga Rural Clinical School.
My clinical experiences in this regional centre has offered me a broad range of experiences. I remember in my pre-clinical years, my peers commenting that being in the big city hospitals was the way to go. Now, as I prepare to finish my final year of medical school in a regional clinical placement, I can say that nothing has proven less true.
Choosing to apply to intern rurally was a no-brainer and I have been incredibly fortunate to have been offered an internship position at Wagga Base Hospital in 2019. I am excited about continuing my journey as a JMO. A rural internship really does enable its health care professionals the opportunity for community connectedness alongside a deeper professional fulfilment than might be attained in a metropolitan setting.