Local GP, Dr. Padma Madduru, from Canowindra Medical Practice enjoys the role of mentoring medical students who are studying medicine, from anywhere in Australia. Currently Dr. Padma Madduru, has had Marita Smith, a student from Griffith University in Qld, who is in her first year of medicine attending the clinic as her first placement for the past two weeks. Dr. Padma said, “I like having the medical students coming out to the rural medical practices as they experience how our systems work in terms of rural health.” There are two main areas that impact on us in a rural community and they are:
1. We get to know the families along with their medical care, and this combined with the social aspect of who we are dealing with, enables us to manage their health problems in a better way.
2. We also need to consider the farming communities and the way that adverse weather conditions can greatly affect not only their physical health, but also their mental health, with higher suicide rates amongst the farming communities in times of immense stress.
We encourage the students to experience some time in the rural communities so that when they are finished their studies they may elect to return to the rural towns that they trained in and make it their career. Marita said, the biggest aspect that she has experienced is the breadth of knowledge she recognises is required to work rural communities. “With the main hospital for the region located in Orange, the local role requires a knowledge of specialist areas of health along with the basics of being a GP and attending the local hospital where different cases present. The patients have been living in the area for a long time and both patients and doctors recognise that there is a sense of community and belonging when you move to the country to take up a rural posting. I can see that you very quickly become a part of the community.”
“I have been here two weeks now and when I am walking to the hospital each morning, I now have at least 5 people wave to me who I have met during my stay. Where else would this happen except in a friendly rural town like Canowindra,” Marita said.