Monash University students experience rural life in Echuca

By Jared Prestwidge

MELBOURNE medical students got a taste of rural life recently when they visited Echuca and district as part of their regional and rural placement program.

The 18 second-year Monash University students will spend two weeks in Bendigo but stopped by Echuca Regional Health, the Lockington and District Bush Nursing Centre and two dairy farms in Tennyson on Tuesday.

The program was designed to encourage young doctors to consider moving to rural and regional areas once they graduate.

Monash University tutor Graeme Robertson said there was a constant need for more health professionals in areas like Echuca and Lockington.

“The idea is that they get a chance to see the delivery of health services in rural and regional settings,” he said.

“As they finish their training there’s a big need to get them out into rural areas, it’s fairly difficult to do.

“If they get this little bit of exposure now, that might plant a seed and some might come back in the future.”

On their visit to Tennyson dairy farms owned by Noel and Corey Mitchell, the group got a crash course on animal husbandry, zoonosis and the milking process.

Corey said their goal was to show off the benefits of living in rural and regional areas that you can’t find anywhere else.

“It’s pretty hard to pull people into rural areas at the best of times, but I think if we continue something like this and show them the benefits of being involved in a rural area… I think it will help us secure more doctors in the future,” he said.  

Monash University student James Churilov said he welcomed the new experience away from his classroom in Melbourne.

“We’re seeing there’s a big difference between what we learn over at the metropolitan area back at Monash University, compared to the rural areas that we’re getting to experience now,” he said

“It’s looking much more attractive as time goes on to be placed in a rural position.”