The School of Rural Health Bus Tour 2013

9 April 2013

The distant rumble of two coaches, readying their engines for a western adventure, is barely heard above the usual city din. It was Graduation Day at Sydney University, an unusually hectic day on campus.

Seventy five Sydney University medical students scramble aboard, the excitement is palpable, the chatter loud. There is a last minute rush to meet the 1.00pm departure time.

The School of Rural Health Bus Tour 2013 is about to get underway...

An hour or so later, the city blurs behind them, as the coaches hurtle toward the huge horizon soon to welcome the setting sun... this is the adventure many of them have been waiting for.

Each year, Sydney Medical School's School of Rural Health, located in Central West NSW with a campus at both Orange and Dubbo, plays host to students who share an interest in rural medicine.

The students are considering their collective futures. Many will decide to spend 12 months in a rural setting, engaging in clinical and academic pursuits laid out in the faculty's curriculum.

As bushland, birdlife and a big sky welcome the students, some for the very first time; they are treated to an array of experiences encompassing the professional, the personal and the picturesque, as only country Australia can offer.

The tour is fast paced. It needs to be.

Immersive visits to Orange Health Service and Dubbo Base Hospital provide an understanding of facilities, student to medical staff ratios and student access to patients. The students view campuses, facilities and accommodation.

Clinical, academic and professional staff - accompanied by current students - are at the ready to answer questions and provide support in an effort to assist with the ultimate decision. Do I do my clinical year out west?

A visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Base in Dubbo is a highlight for many, as presentations by medical professionals detail a very different world.

Of course, no visit to the western front is complete without sampling regional cuisine, wine and country hospitality. And there is plenty of this as well.

Sunday afternoon, as the coaches make a speedy return to big smoke, the students perhaps a little tired, albeit a little more informed, are surprised by an on-board visit by a youthful Dubbo Mayor. One final plug for life in the country!

For more information, please visit the School of Rural Health.