Locals encourage medical students to consider rural areas

Local dentist Dr Caroline Bowman is among the local health service providers hosting university students on a “virtual placement” in an effort to encourage them to consider working in rural areas once they complete their degrees.

hosting university students in the hope that once they have obtained their degrees they might consider returning to Cobar.

The student placement is organised by the  North West Academic Centre (NWAC) with local Ellie McLaughlin the centre’s liaison
in Cobar.

NWAC provides accommodation for students and negotiates with hospitals and various agencies to find placements for them to give them a taste of living and working in a rural area.

Cheryl Swinton, project officer with NWAC said a rural placement also gives students the opportunity to discover how working in the country can be good for their career and there’s also a great social aspect to living and working in a rural community.

“We do our best to ensure the students get to attend whatever is available to them whilst doing their placements.

“A lot of the students are pleasantly surprised at what these great little communities have to offer,” Ms Swinton said.

The student placement method has undergone a change over the past two months due to COVID-19 restrictions with students now doing ‘Virtual Placements’ via Zoom meetings.

“This is the first time we have done this but it appears to be working well,” she said.

“It will become the way of the future and we are adding as much information work wise and via Cultural Awareness.”

Oral Health students from the University of Sydney are currently doing placements with Dr Charlie Thompson and Dr Caroline Bowman.

“While this is all very new to all of them, it seems to be working well,” Ms Swinton said

“We rent accommodation in Cobar for the students to stay in while there and do our best to buy everything local so we are supporting the community in every way possible.”

Ms Swinton hopes over the coming months locals will notice some these new faces in town and take the time to say hello to make them feel welcome.