Lighting the path for rural internships

  • Web video confernce on laptop
Western NSW Regional Training Hub
Linda Cutler, Director

Navigating internship applications can be daunting for many final year medical students, especially those interested in a rural or regional area. But help was at hand recently when Regional Training Hubs teamed up to deliver a fantastic series of workshops to help guide them through the process.

The Western NSW Regional Training Hub, based in Dubbo and Orange, NSW, recently held two information sessions for medical students interested in pursuing their internships in NSW, and more specifically in a regional centre, under the Rural Preferential Recruitment (RPR) scheme for 2021.  

Originally three face-to-face sessions were scheduled but due to COVID-19 they were converted to two Zoom workshops. The Western NSW team was pleased to work with the Northern NSW Regional Training Hub, based in Grafton, which also offered the sessions to medical students from the University of Wollongong. 

“It was also wonderful to welcome Carol Chandler and Tracey Isidori from our Western Australian Hubs,” said Linda Cutler, Director of the Western NSW Regional Training Hub.

“I’d like to thank them for their interest and consideration of similar initiatives for their Western Australian students.”

Attendees at the workshops included current fourth-year medical students at the School of Rural Health in Orange and Dubbo as well as several students who had been in a rural clinical school in 2018. Many of those individuals had previously been in Lismore, Broken Hill, Dubbo and Orange and had a continued interest in going rural for their internships. 

Dawn Webb, the Program Coordinator Medical Portfolio, HETI, NSW Health gave freely of her time and expertise in providing the current processes and key dates for intern applications, which opened on 4 May 2020 and closed on 4 June 2020. 

“Some of the key messages included going into the online applications early and making sure you have the correct supporting documentation,” said Mrs Cutler.

“It was also an opportunity to confirm that due to COVID-19, face-to-face interviews will not be part of the RPR application process this year.”

Feedback from the Zoom workshops was overwhelmingly positive, with students not only thankful for the extensive and practical information, but also for the personal support the Hubs provide locally.

This workshop gave a great overview of the whole intern application process and provided a very useful understanding about how the rural application system sits within the wider framework,” said one final-year medical student in Dubbo.

“The workshops were well-structured and helped simplify what can appear to be a complex process.”    

The initial sessions were followed up by additional Zoom workshops covering topics such as how to construct a résumé, address key selection criteria in medical job applications and select your referees.  These workshops included both final-year medical students and Junior Medical Officers.

“Regional Training Hubs are committed to supporting our local medical students and those starting their advanced training career, as they will have many job applications ahead of them,” Mrs Cutler said.

“We are delighted to encourage more medical students to consider a rural training pathway, and to help them through the application process and into a training program.”

The Hubs will continue to work in conjunction to provide real, practical services that support students and junior doctors in taking those important steps along their pathway to fellowship.

“One of our new challenges is taking photos at our events when you are on Zoom!” Mrs Cutler said.

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