ASPIRING surgeon Jemima McKenzie says clocking on for the first time was an exciting moment, and not just because she was one of 39 fresh interns starting at Bendigo Health this week.
"I spent a lot of my childhood here and it's great to be coming back to be among my family and friends," she said.
Dr McKenzie is starting her 12 month internship in the emergency department and will then rotate through other parts of the hospital.
"I'd done a few rotations here (as a medical student) and I really liked the supports and structures in place at the hospital and the opportunities junior doctors have here," she said.
While she is not sure exactly where her career might take her, she is considering specialising in surgery.
"That would be exciting, long and hard but I like a challenge," Dr McKenzie said.
Noel Rabindranayagan believes starting his career in Bendigo will give him vital skills to help people living in regional and rural communities.
"I want to work rural. I think at the moment it would be in rural generalism - so as a specialist GP, orthopaedics," he said.
"Hopefully it would be in this area of the world, or nearby."
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Like Dr McKenzie, Dr Rabindranayagan is already familiar with the city.
"I was here studying medicine with the rural school in my fourth year and half of last year," he said.
"I loved it so much I thought I had to come back. I'm from Ballarat so it's very similar. I've started playing cricket here, it's a good community, there are plenty of places to eat and it's close to Melbourne.
"So there's a lot of opportunity here."
The opportunities at the hospital appeal to many of the interns who choose Bendigo Hospital as they leave university, deputy chief medical officer Casey Nottage said.
"There's a range of opportunities and exposures in different clinical settings but are still small enough that we can be really supportive of our junior staff as well," she said.
A doctor's intern year is a special one, Dr Nottage said.
"It's your first year out of university, your first one being a doctor in the health system," she said.
"It's a great time for the hospital and hopefully for what will be a regional career for them as well."
Interns will likely get multiple rotations through core areas like the emergency department, surgery and medicine, Dr Nottage said.
"But also some of our more specialist areas like cardiology and oncology."