STUDENTS from the Universities of Melbourne, Monash, Deakin and La Trobe put inter-varsity tension aside last week to run a Rural Health Careers Day for current Victorian health students.
The student-co-ordinated Rural Health Careers Day has become a tradition of sorts, running annually and each year in a different location.
In 2013 the event was hosted in Geelong – home to health students of Deakin University.
This year was Bendigo’s turn, with Bendigo being home to medical students from the University of Melbourne and Monash University, as well as nursing, midwifery and allied health students from La Trobe University.
This year I had the pleasure of being involved in the organisation of the event, alongside fellow University of Melbourne student Kelsey Broom, Monash students William Goss and Grace Andrews, Deakin student Tom Cheah, and La Trobe student Rebecca Lanigan.
Health students from across Victoria were invited to join us at the event, with the aim of promoting regional, rural and remote careers.
It was held at the Monash School of Rural Health in Mercy Street, showcasing both current Bendigo Health facilities as well as the new state-of-the-art hospital development.
In my opinion there’s no better place to highlight the benefits of regional life than Bendigo, and the town definitely lived up to our guests’ expectations on the day (and in many cases exceeded them!).
The day received support from all major Australasian medical specialty-training colleges, many of who sent representatives to talk to medical student guests in person! Representatives from several rural health workforce programs also attended, such as the Murrary to Mountain Intern Program – a program that facilitates recently graduated medical students to work in rural locations across the state such as Yarrawonga, Cobram, Mt Beauty, Benalla, and Numurkah.
A wide range of health professionals from the local area also generously gave up their Saturday to speak to students on the day, including Dr Diana Badcock (director of the Emergency Department at Bendigo Health) and Dr Carol McKinstry (head of Allied Health at the La Trobe School of Rural Health).
Manny Cao – a surgeon working in Bendigo, Shepparton and Echuca – discussed the vast array of opportunities he’s had since moving to the country from Melbourne to continue his surgical career, while Dr Richard Mayes – a Castlemaine GP – emphasised local community spirit as a major bonus for working outside the city.
What all the speakers shared in common was a love for the local community and a sentiment to work where you’re needed.
As the day was entirely student-run, it wouldn’t have been possible without tremendous support from local businesses (in particular The Foundry, which fed many of our guests a delicious lunch) and support from our prime sponsor Medical Indemnity Protection Society (MIPS).
I’d particularly like to thank MIPS, which committed to supporting the future of the rural health workforce with the funding we needed to run this amazing Rural Health Careers Day.
I hope that health students from all across Victoria discovered last week what many of us already know: central Victoria is the place to be!