Medical students consider a rural future with a look at Cobar

A group of medical students visited Cobar on Friday and Saturday as part of the Rural Doctor’s Network’s strategy to encourage students to consider working in rural areas. Pictured with some of the students at a dinner on Friday night at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club are locals Tanya Gilbert and Genie McMullen.

A group of 20 medical students were in town on Friday as part of an effort to encourage future doctors and health professionals to consider the benefits and rewards of a rural career.

The students came to Cobar as part of a
four-day ‘Go Rural’ road trip, funded by NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) after visiting Bathurst, Orange, Parkes and Trundle.

While in Cobar the pre-medicine, nursing, physio, speech pathology and dietetics students toured the medical centre and hospital to see first hand the medical services Cobar has to offer.

In addition, the students also met a group of local residents informally over dinner on Friday night at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club and heard from guest speakers Tanya Gilbert and Genie McMullen.

Tanya outlined all of the positives (and some of the negatives) about what it’s like to come back as an adult to live and work in town while Genie spoke about moving from another country to live and work as a nurse in Cobar.

Both also spoke about how easy it’s been to raise their families here.

Nicola Murphy, one of the students on the ‘Go Rural’ trip who is training to be a doctor, said the trip had been a real eye-opener for many and they were appreciative of having been able to meet the locals and hear about Cobar first hand.

She said the students had also been very keen to see how rural and remote communities make use of new technology to overcome distance barriers.

Dr Indra Karalasingham (who came to Cobar in 2008 as a locum doctor and liked the place so much he decided to stay) attended Friday night’s dinner to help welcome the students.

Dr Indra urged the students to give rural practice a go, saying they would get more hands-on opportunities working with a small team in a rural setting than they could ever get in a big team in a city hospital.

As part of their visit the students also got to meet and talk to more locals at Parkrun on Saturday morning.