National Rural Health Student Network Experience
In September, the 2022 Outlook President and Vice President, Jasraaj Singh and Gabriella Smith attended the 2022 National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN) Council 3 on behalf of our University of Melbourne Outlook Rural Health Club. Here’s more about their experience and what they learnt…
A Recap of Our 2022 NRHSN Council 3 Experience
National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN) Council 3 delegates in Hahndorf, Adelaide SA.
"Before Gabbi and I get stuck into talking about our recent jam-packed trip to Adelaide we would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the waterways and lands on which we stayed and travelled through to attend this council as representatives of the Outlook Rural Health Club. Thank you to the Peramangk and Kaurna People for allowing us safe passage as we treaded carefully on your country across Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills. We would also like to pay our respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging ❤️💛🖤
Our NRHSN Council 3 experience was certainly one to remember. Amongst the busy schedule, incredible speakers, and Adelaide adventures, we had the great opportunity to connect with rural health student leaders from across Australia. All the delegates attending the conference were representatives of their respective university rural health clubs or NRHSN committee members. Throughout the conference we had the opportunity to present our club’s progress and reflect on the year that has so quickly passed as well as brainstorm ideas into the future.
On day one, we started the conference with a whip-around series of presentations from all the Australian rural health clubs. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to present on all of Outlook’s incredible achievements this year which include but aren’t limited to the Rural Rewind initiative, Ballarat Career’s Night, Ski Trip, display of First Nations flags across all of the rural campuses, Bonded Medical Program Information Night, and uplifting of First Nations voices using our Outlook social media platforms. Gabbi and I also had the chance to hear about what other clubs have achieved and the initiatives they have tried this year as inspiration for future Outlook RHC events. Some of the ideas that really stuck with us include:
- Dream Time stories and landscapes photo competition from the local areas that students are undertaking placement
- Rural medical challenges involving retrieval and emergency medical scenarios in rural and remote settings
- Hosting a rural generalist breakfast
- Intervarsity sports competition
- Bush doof raising funds for local fire brigades and communities affected by bush fire
- And last but not least, budgie smugglers as club merchandise
Throughout the council, we engaged in two workshops run by the NRHSN team, focused on reflecting on our year in our clubs and planning for the future. We had a large focus on increasing the engagement of Allied Health students with our club. We discussed the importance of a multidisciplinary team in health care, which is especially important in the country and how engaging with multiple disciplines at the student level can encourage this teamwork later in our career. We brainstormed different ideas that we plan on bringing to Outlook for action in 2023.
- Explored Adelaide and Hahndorf (small German town just outside of Adelaide)
- Trivia on the bus: didn’t win, but came pretty close!
- Takeaway points for the incoming committee: lots of brainstorming ideas and plans for next year to pass on to the 2023 committee!
- Recap of Outlook: we got to share our club's updates with the rest of the NRHSN members and hear about the work they have been doing!
Professor Paul Worley
Prof Worley is an Academic rural doctor and Dean of Medicine at Flinders University. We were lucky enough to hear him speak about his experiences of setting up the first Rural Clinical School in Australia. There were definite challenges and hardships that he described when first setting up the program and they were unsure if it was going to work out. Students were apprehensive and the teaching doctors were unsure about the program. However, what they found was that after 3 months of the program, the students didn’t want to leave. They had experienced more hands-on, clinical medicine than they were ever expecting and had learned so much from their experienced rural doctors, the program was a great success.
Dr John Floridis
On day 2, we had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Dr John Floridis who is a retrieval medicine consultant with the Royal Flying Doctors Service, rural generalist and GP anaesthetist. Jas met John in East Arnhem Land when she was on her John Flynn Placement at Gove District Hospital, so it was a nice opportunity to reconnect! John shared his insights into the advantages and challenges of practicing rurally and remotely as well as a bit about his journey through medicine so far. Some of the key points from his presentation were:
- Medicine is a long career so make sure you pace yourself and enjoy the journey
- Build your strong foundations in clinical knowledge and procedural skills early on by trying different rotations and pushing yourself to learn as much as you can
- Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, make sure you put yourself out there and give things a go. You never know where an opportunity might take you
- Illness does not respect geography hence, we need more rural and remote doctors to help provide quality health services to our rural and remote populations
- GP and rural generalism are excellent careers for providing patients with a full cycle of care and delivering care to communities from cradle to grave
The weekend in Adelaide was one of many learnings, reflection and fun. We are so grateful for the time that the NRHSN team, delegates and guest speakers gave up for this weekend and can’t wait to pass on our learnings and ideas to the incoming Outlook team for 2023."
Written by Jasraaj Singh and Gabrielle Smith
Outlook is the Rural Health Club for the University of Melbourne, forming part of a network of 28 University Rural Health Clubs around the country that make up the National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN). Outlook is an entirely student run organisation and works to deliver events, initiatives and activities that expose members to the many rewards and challenges of rural healthcare and Indigenous healthcare. They work to foster a community of students passionate about delivering healthcare to underserved regions of Australia, and promote rural, remote and Indigenous healthcare as a viable, challenging and extremely rewarding career path.