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Rural communities urged to welcome junior doctors with open arms

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The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is encouraging rural communities to welcome new junior doctors and medical students with open arms to encourage them to stay in rural areas for their careers.

It’s that time of the year when junior doctors start new positions in hospitals and healthcare services across rural Australia and the perfect time for rural Aussies to “do what they do best” in enticing the new recruits to love their new town, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) said.

“Anyone who lives in a country town knows that rural hospitality is second to none,” RDAA President Dr Megan Belot said.

“They also know that a great rural lifestyle in a great rural community is very hard to beat.

“First impressions count – so we’re urging rural Aussies to get out there, welcome new doctors to their towns with open arms, and show them the very best of what their community can offer.

“Local access to medical services is one of the key elements of a thriving rural and remote community.

“Showing a junior doctor how great your community is can make a big difference in enticing them to stay on for the longer term or return there to work in the coming years.”

Dr Belot said some junior doctors will be based in rural communities for an extended period while they continue their training, while others will be undertaking a short-term rotation at a rural hospital, general practice or other health services before heading back to the city or a larger centre.

“Many will be starting out in their medical career and are yet to decide on the direction they’d like to take or where they’d like to settle – so it’s a great time for them to experience the benefits of a rural lifestyle, as well the great clinical variety they will get to experience in the bush,” she said.

“Every rural and remote town is unique and has a lot to offer, so if you are in a community or sporting group in your town please reach out to any new doctors or medical students as your efforts will be appreciated.”

Dr Belot said rural health professionals also have a significant role to play in making new recruits feel comfortable and supported – something they have historically done very well.

“Senior doctors, nursing, allied health and practice staff are key in providing a supportive learning environment for junior doctors and medical students as they continue to develop their medical knowledge and clinical skills” she said.

“Rural clinicians pride themselves on providing a great learning environment for these new recruits – and often the feedback is that they have felt much better supported in their rural placement than in the city.

“Unfortunately, following the Federal Government’s recent expansion of the Distribution Priority Areas (DPA) program, we are starting to see less applicants for the many general practitioner vacancies across rural and remote Australia.

“Given this, it has never been a more important time to make junior doctors and medical students who arrive in your town, as well as their partners and families, feel welcome and appreciated.

Media release from the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA)Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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