RURAL PLACEMENT: Attending Lismore's University Centre for Rural Health are third year medical students from the University of Sydney. Back row:  Ben Miller, Bosco Chan, Justin Phang, Chris Shirbin. Middle row: Lewis Purcell, Charlie Risby, Alissa Barton, Sarah Briggs, Xavier Flanagan, Front row: Sarah Winter-Irving, Michael Bradley, Jordan Colless, Anthony Wild-Taylor.
RURAL PLACEMENT: Attending Lismore's University Centre for Rural Health are third year medical students from the University of Sydney. Back row: Ben Miller, Bosco Chan, Justin Phang, Chris Shirbin. Middle row: Lewis Purcell, Charlie Risby, Alissa Barton, Sarah Briggs, Xavier Flanagan, Front row: Sarah Winter-Irving, Michael Bradley, Jordan Colless, Anthony Wild-Taylor. "Jeff Cl;ark"

Medical students discover the benefits of country life

ONE week into their year-long placement a new crop of third year medical students are already considering the benefits of a career in the country.

The cohort who have commenced a 12 month training assignment at Lismore Base Hospital and the University Centre for Rural Health, have been impressed by the Northern NSW Local Health District facilities and staff - and the benefits of rural living.

The centre's deputy director Dr Ellen McGirr said the centre had 16 arrivals from the University of Sydney.

"This year is an important part of their training, giving the students a chance to see health care issues in rural Australia,” she said.

Amongst the students at UCRH is Ben Miller, who said he expected to find a hospital lagging behind those in Sydney.

"I was expecting an older hospital and facilities,” he said,

"Coming here I was surprised to find all brand new and state-of-the-art equipment”.

Student Lewis Purcell said he appreciated the better work-life balance offered in the rural centre.

"As a third-year medical student in Sydney you are going to be under the pump with assignments, constantly at the hospital nine-to-five, and a lot of extra study,” he said.

"We had a lecture here and were told not to do work on weekends, 'just go out and explore the area, enjoy yourself and take your time'.”

Students also said they appreciated the friendly town atmosphere.

Student Sarah Winter-Irving said Lismore is more metropolitan than she was expecting.

"The big stand-out is the how friendly everyone is, they have all bent over backwards help us out,” she said.

The UCRH experience is appreciated by all the students and the area has seen return visits by some, Dr McGirr said.

"We have had a number of students return for their residency, or as trainee registrars,” she said.

Mr Miller thinks a rural career is a distinct possibility.

"I've come to realise this week that there are so many training opportunities here for accredited and specialist training,” he said.

And he's not the only one leaning towards a country practice.

"A Lismore return is definitely on the cards, I'm just drawn to this area,” Ms Winter-Irving said.