Health-focused students from regional areas gained valuable insight from experienced clinicians during a visit to Parkes Hospital recently, supporting their studies and growth in a rural healthcare setting.
Seven students across a range of disciplines, including medicine, nursing and allied health, from Charles Sturt University and the University of Wollongong took part, along with two work experience students from Parkes High School who focused on physiotherapy.
Rach Ellem, Health Service Manager of Lachlan Health Service, said it was exciting to support the development of students in a local healthcare environment with practical knowledge and skills.
“It’s incredibly important that we continue to provide these learning opportunities for medical and health-focused students, to support their growth and showcase how rewarding it can be to work in a regional area,” Ms Ellem said.
“We had a range of engaged and highly-skilled clinicians support the visit, who welcomed such enthusiastic students to share their knowledge and practice. The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Associate Professor Kerrie Stewart, Head of the Charles Sturt University Central West Clinical School and local Parkes GP and Visiting Medical Officer, said fostering relationships with students as they develop will build potential for their return as they enter the workforce.
“We know that students studying in rural areas already have a commitment to our communities and region, so by supporting them locally we can help students build their skillset and develop important professional relationships,” Ms Stewart said.
Professor Damien Limberger, Acting Clinical Director of Lachlan Health Service and Associate Dean of the Charles Sturt University School of Rural Medicine, said supporting students during their formative years won’t just benefit them, but will benefit the entire community.
“Involving students across our local sites and facilities won’t just provide them with a taste of what rural healthcare and Lachlan Health Service can offer, but will also continue to help our workforce as we build strong ties that will benefit recruitment and retention in rural areas both short-term and long-term,” Dr Limberger said.
Dr Limberger and Dr Stewart continue to work closely with Ms Ellem to engage key parties in the local community to build workforce capacity at Lachlan Health Service and ensure its services continue to meet the needs of the community now, and into the future.