Seachange: New medical students at the UNSW rural clinic on orientation day.
Seachange: New medical students at the UNSW rural clinic on orientation day. Rob Wright

Students keen to learn locally

NEW students at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus-based rural clinic are keen to embrace hands-on learning and to discover the coast’s local charms through community engagement.

The University of New South Wales clinic offers the same curriculum as its city counterparts but engages local doctors to teach smaller groups of students. The initiative addresses a shortage of doctors in rural areas through regional training and understanding of country lifestyle and practice.

While some of the 15 new students are experiencing a sea change from the big smoke, others, like Jocelyn Aitken, are returning to their rural roots.

Ms Aitken is in the fifth year of her medical degree and comes from Culburra Beach.

“I’m from a rural background and have family at Boambee East so it’s nice to be here,” she said.

“The rural clinic is a desirable model of learning with a supportive medical community and I’m excited about the lifestyle this area provides.”

The rural clinic has also attracted sea changer Hannah Glover, who is in her fifth year of study and excited about staying in Coffs Harbour.

“I’ve heard such good things about this area and wanted the sea change from Sydney,” she said. “One of the reasons I came to Coffs is to be more directly involved with patients as well as the community.”



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