City student doctors get a taste of country medicine

Student doctors Xanthie Volckmar and Hannah Nobes, who are studying Postgraduate Medicine at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, are currently in Cobar getting an idea of what being a rural doctor is like. The placement is supported by the Rural
Doctors Network, CWA and Cobar Shire Council.

Cobar is currently hosting two student doctors from Sydney’s University of Notre Dame to get a taste of what being a country doctor is really like.

Hannah Nobes is on her second week of placement here in Cobar and has been spending her time at the Lilliane Brady Village retirement home and the Cobar Primary Health Care Centre.

Xanthie Volckmar has commenced her two weeks of placement on Monday.

The pair were to have had a tour of the hospital yesterday and will also be spending time at The John Mitchell Pharmacy and hope to talk to any high school students interested in studying medicine during their placement.

Hannah and Xanthie have both completed four years of Medical Science as well as their first year of Postgrad.

They applied for scholarships for a rural placement program which is run by the Rural Doctors Network who are working with the Country Women’s Association (CWA) and local councils to help entice doctors to rural settings.

The program aims to give students an introduction to working in rural areas and to showcase what life as a rural doctor could look like.

“It’s sort of a taste for us and it’s been great,” Hannah told The Cobar Weekly on Monday.

Both have an interest in rural medicine.

“I’m from Cowra so I grew up in a rural area,” Hannah said.

“There’s a lot of disparities between  healthcare and access to healthcare in rural areas and remote areas compared to urban centres.”

Hannah said it’s also country people who have “hardworking, salt of the earth ethics” that makes her want to work and serve a rural community.

Xanthie said while she grew up in Sydney, her mum is from Coolah, and she spent a lot of time there while growing up.

“I travelled around Australia last year and I got to experience all parts of Australia and for me, I think I’m just drawn to the rural lifestyle.

“I’ve only been here 24 hours and I already feel a bit more relaxed,” Xanthie said.

“Australia is so beautiful and I think you get so much more of that when you are out of the city. You really appreciate nature and how you can get really involved in the community.

“Plus I’ve seen there is a huge need.

“Since starting medicine and having done a placement around Tamworth and speaking to the doctors there, that’s what really inspired me. They said their work is so fulfilling and meaningful and I just found that incredibly inspiring.

“For me, being a rural Generalist would be so interesting because you do something different everyday. I’m really attracted to being able to work in hospitals and work in GP practices and not be doing the same thing all the time.”

Both Hannah and Xanthie have also been on a number of  GP placements in Sydney.

“It’s very much a case of you see a patient  once and you might not see them again, whereas in a rural setting you can treat someone and you can also treat their whole family too,” Hannah said.

As part of the program, Hannah and Xanthie also get some free time to “play tourist” and the pair have visited the museum, Fort Bourke Hill Lookout and the Newey and are getting to know their way around town.

Both are looking forward to attending some of our social events this weekend including the Christmas Street Parade, the Pop Up Races and Carols by Candlelight.

Both said they have enjoyed visiting and will recommend Cobar to their fellow medical students as a work place where you can find a lot of variety.

“You’ve got miners, you’ve got an older population, you’ve also got the kids of miners and the pastoralists so I think that’s probably a draw card for a medical person,” Hannah said.

Xanthie will also recommend Cobar to those looking for a more relaxed, slower paced environment.