(Back row from left) Frances Barraclough, Caydee Pollock, Hailey Lawry, Saleem Hasan Chowdhury, Thi’anh Smith, Karen Wilson; (middle row) Dr. Jane Barker, Naomi Piyaratna, Luke Dan, Libby Kelly; (front row) Hannah Walker, Jamie Tape and Ben Hill at the University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore.
(Back row from left) Frances Barraclough, Caydee Pollock, Hailey Lawry, Saleem Hasan Chowdhury, Thi’anh Smith, Karen Wilson; (middle row) Dr. Jane Barker, Naomi Piyaratna, Luke Dan, Libby Kelly; (front row) Hannah Walker, Jamie Tape and Ben Hill at the University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore. Patrick Gorbunovs

Medical students roll up

SUNSHINE, surf and seriously good training opportunities are three good reasons why medical student Luke Dan chose to come to the Northern Rivers.

He's one of 39 students here for their final-year regional placement, and hopefully he'll stay on after graduation.

"For us it's compulsory to go rural or regional for a year, so it really gears you towards working in those areas," Mr Dan said.

"The North Coast is a place which is growing, not going backwards, and I enjoy the quality of life you can have up here.

"It seems to have a good work/life balance - a great place to raise a family."

The students are here as a result of a partnership between the University Centre for Rural Health and two universities - Wollongong and Western Sydney - aiming to attract a better health workforce to the region.

A group of eight Lismore-based students will be working at general practices and emergency departments in Byron, Ballina, and Lismore, getting a wide variety of on-the-job experience.

There are also seven students in Murwillumbah and two in Mullumbimby.

UCRH Academic Co-ordinator Dr Jane Barker said the university courses had a specific focus on general practice, which gave students a broader view of medicine.

"They're turning out very good doctors who are quite popular in the hospitals - that's heartening for us because it shows general practice is an arena where you can learn good medicine," she said.

"We're giving them a much broader view than just a teaching hospital."



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