School of Rural Health

The School of Rural Health (SRH), with campuses in both Dubbo and Orange, provides a supportive and cooperative educational environment, exceptional teaching facilities and close affordable accommodation. A network of relationships, including state and private hospitals, GP practices and private specialist practices, combine to give students excellent patient and doctor access, across a breadth of patient scenarios, all within in a small accessible team of medical professionals and administration staff.

The School also provides an academic focus for clinicians, teachers and researchers who wish to become part of the University presence in a rural environment. Our funding comes from the Rural Clinical Training and Support Program of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

At Sydney Medical School we recognise that people living in rural areas are often disadvantaged in accessing health services. They have fewer services, less access and choice in health services, with a smaller, dispersed population and limited access to public transport. This is why it is important to encourage the recruitment and retention of rural and remote health professionals, including doctors.

Rural placements provide great exposure to clinical practice in the country. Regardless of where you ultimately decide to practice, the rural experience enhances understanding of what it is like to live, train and work within a rural community.

Along with improving the rural health workforce and gaining substantial educational benefits, there is also the lifestyle benefits that come with living in a rural location.

Fast Facts

  • The School of Rural Health (SRH) is located in Central West- Western New South Wales in Dubbo and Orange. The School of Rural Health has a strong partnership with both Orange Health Service and the Dubbo Base Hospital.
    The University of Sydney Rural Clinical School was first established in Dubbo in 2001.
  • The primary aim of the clinical schools is to teach medicine in a rural setting and strengthen the rural medical workforce.
  • In 2002 the School of Rural Health in Orange was developed to further extend the program in Central New South Wales.
  • Now around 60 Sydney Medical Program students attend the School of Rural Health campuses in Dubbo and Orange each year.
  • Students can spend up to one year of their four year degree being taught by health practitioners throughout the Central West and Western NSW.
  • The School of Rural Health delivers Stage 3 of the Sydney Medical Program at its Dubbo and Orange Campuses.
  • Students have the opportunity to spend up to one year of their rural placement years at either of these campuses.
  • Prospective MBBS students should note they cannot nominate this school as a preferred allocation at enrolment; recruitment to the rural clinical school takes place during Stage 2.
Dubbo Base Hospital
  • Dubbo Base Hospital services about 15% of the NSW land mass.
  • It has 151 beds plus an ambulatory care unit and receives around 18,000 admissions per year.
  • Staff specialists provide additional outpatient services from the nearby Specialist Medical Centre and via visiting outreach clinics throughout western NSW.
  • The Dubbo Base Hospital is only a short walk from the University of Sydney, School of Rural Health Campus.
Orange Health Service
  • Orange Health Service's new hospital opened in March 2011 on the Bloomfield site.
  • It is the largest rural hospital in NSW, comprising 520 beds that include mental health and forensic psychiatry.
  • The mental health component of the Orange Health Service is one of a kind in NSW and provides both State and Area services in child and adolescence, Geriatrics, forensics, rehabilitation, adult acute, mental health intensive care, high dependency and extended care.
  • In addition to the full range of services provided at the previous campus, including interventional cardiology, radiation therapy will be one of the new services offered at the hospital.

Student experience

What can I expect to be doing day-today and what are the normal hours?

Students who spend up to one year of their medical degree at the School of Rural Health will have a varied and hands-on experience. All classes are hosted on campus with some specialised classes held via video link with Sydney. Students train in Dubbo and Orange undertake 4 clinical placements days a week (practical) at either the Orange Health Service or the Dubbo Base Hospital, and 1 day of tutorials and lectures on Campus at the School of Rural Health.

“When I first started medicine I began to realise the huge opportunities that existed in the country. Beyond the great experience and hands-on teaching, you have the opportunity to do something different and get out of your comfort zone. I think I’ve gained great exposure to a wide range of medical conditions, while developing good personal and professional relationships with many of the more senior clinical staff. They are always friendly and willing to teach and pass on the skills that they have acquired throughout their many years of medicine.”
Robert Pocklington, 3rd Year student in Orange


Where is the School of Rural Health located and how do I get there?

The School of Rural Health is located in both Dubbo and Orange.

The School of Rural Health in Dubbo is located in Western NSW and is a 5.5 hour drive, or one hour flight from Sydney. In Dubbo the School of Rural Health teaching facilities and accommodation is located next to the Dubbo Base Hospital where students undertake their clinical placements.

The School of Rural Health in Orange is located 3.5 hours west of Sydney, in Central West NSW. Students on clinical placement at the Orange campus attend classes and clinical labs on the Orange Health Service, Bloomfield campus site where they receive practical experience at the Orange Health Service and local GP practices. The accommodation facilities are located a short distance from the Orange CBD and 10km from the Orange Health Service and School of Rural Health teaching facilities.

For more information on the School of Rural Health, follow the link to their website.