THE University Centre for Rural Health hopes some of the 35 medical students starting practical training in the Northern Rivers decide to return their growing expertise to the region.
As part of a program co-ordinated by the centre, the senior students from the universities of Wollongong and Western Sydney will spend a year in rotating supervised placements in Lismore and Murwillumbah.
The centre's director of education, Dr Michael Douglas, said practical study in regional areas offered diversity of experiences.
"These students, and others who will come throughout the year, choose the Northern Rivers because of the reputation of local health facilities and of the many skilled clinicians who generously share their knowledge and time for the benefit of the next generation of doctors," Dr Douglas said.
"Students who do their placement in a regional/rural area are more likely to settle and work in the bush after they graduate.
"So we're helping them to hone their skills as well as making an investment in the regional healthcare capacity of the Northern Rivers and Australia."
Wollongong students Rosie Hambury and Andrew Marshall had only been in town a few days and weeks respectively and were anticipating the challenges.
Mr Marshall said he was looking forward to working side by side with experienced doctors by way of "parallel consulting".
"Basically, we'll have a room of our own in the GP surgery, we'll see patients before the doctor comes in and then we'll present the case and we're told what we've done right and what we've done wrong," he said.
Ms Hambury said doctors in rural areas seem to become more integrated and connected with patients.
"I think you're more part of the community, whereas in the city you're more lost in the crowd," Ms Hambury said.