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Podcast promotes diverse range of opportunities in rural health

In a move to encourage more medical students and junior doctors to consider careers in rural and regional communities, Monash Rural Health has developed a new podcast to explore what it's like to work outside metropolitan areas.

The podcast, Doctor What? Doctor Where? Stories of Rural Medicine is produced by Monash Rural Health's Regional Training Hubs and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health Rural Health, Multidisciplinary Training Program.

The purpose of the podcast is to share experiences and insights of medical professionals from rural and regional communities across Victoria to showcase the opportunities inherent in moving away from the city to live and work.

The first 20 episodes, featuring medical specialists and junior doctors who share their regional medical careers, aims to challenge misconceptions surrounding working in rural and regional areas.
Head of School, Monash Rural Health, Prof Robyn Langham, said the podcast tackles common misconceptions and negative stereotypes that are often associated with rural living and hopes to address the shortage of medical professionals working in these Victorian communities.

"Attracting and retaining a rural medical workforce, especially in smaller communities, has always been a challenge.

"There is certainly a degree of misconception in the perceptions people hold about career opportunities in rural communities, as well as a lack of understanding of what it's like to live in a country town.

"So, we decided to develop this podcast to showcase the unique and diverse opportunities rural medicine has to offer and to dispel some myths about living in a non-metro location.

"Our research shows us that when students spend time in rural communities as part of their studies, they are more likely to want to live and work in rural and regional communities.

"This podcast aims to encourage medical students and junior doctors to consider rural placements by sharing the lived experiences of medical professionals and trainees or early-career doctors."

It is well documented that rural communities have poorer health outcomes than their metropolitan counterparts, and more medical specialists and junior doctors in these regions are needed.

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia highlights that there is no shortage of medical professionals, but they are not working in rural communities.

The podcast will feature a diverse range of medical professionals working in public and private practice, including paediatrics, oncology, anaesthesia, emergency medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology. The variety of voices on the podcast will dispel another misconception that the only opportunities in rural and regional areas are for general practitioners.

Mat Coleman, Associate Professor and Chair of RANZCP Rural Psychiatry Bi-National Committee, discusses the unique opportunities available when working in smaller communities in episode two.

"One of the benefits of working in rural and remote areas is the comprehensive nature of what you do; it's across all settings and all age groups," said Prof Coleman.

"You usually don't get that opportunity when you work in siloed services in metropolitan areas. It's one of the great joys of working across a whole community."

Episodes of Doctor What? Doctor Where? Stories of Rural Medicine, which includes interviews with specialist GPs and psychiatrists, are now available to listen to on all major podcast streaming platforms, with new episodes released fortnightly.

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Haley Williams

Haley Williams has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and over a decade of experience in the media, marketing and communications industries.

She is a widely published journalist with a particular interest in writing magazine features on parenting, health, fitness, nutrition and education.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Haley worked as a writer for NeoLife (a worldwide nutrition company), News Limited and APN News & Media.

Haley also has extensive experience as an SEO Content Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist.