The annual Rural Health Night, organised by The Sydney University Medical Society (SUMS) and rural health club Mirage, last Tuesday night invited medicine, physiotherapy, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing and other allied health students to learn about the career opportunities outside the major cities.
The evening aimed at breaking pervasive negative stereotypes about working in rural, regional and remote areas by giving students the opportunity to hear about the varied and exciting careers of the key speakers, said SUMS organiser Josh Watt. “We’ve picked some really inspiring speakers this year. Dr Sam Goodwin works for the Rural Flying Doctors Service, Daniel Mahony is a physio practicing in regional Western Australia, and Libby Bowell, a nurse, originally worked in Newcastle before she met some other remote area nurses and was inspired to start working in remote areas of the Northern Territory. She has since done a lot of challenging work overseas, following the Boxing Day tsunami in Aceh and the Haiti earthquake. Her experience shows that there are endless possibilities beyond city wards.”
The demand for quality health service providers in rural areas has led a number of government, community and student organisations to develop initiatives to attract international and urban students to take up placements and graduate jobs in the country.
The Rural Health Night is central to exposing healthcare students to working professionals and encouraging them to consider alternative career paths. “Some people just never even consider moving out of Sydney. But after people do a placement in a rural area, lots of them really enjoy the experience,” says Josh. “Some people love the unique challenges that come with working outside of a major centre.”