Victorian Rural Health Conference 2023 opens students’ eyes to the range of rural health experiences available

The 2023 Victorian Rural Health Conference provided a great opportunity for Monash Rural Health staff and students to build on their strong connections with other rural health practitioners, discuss the challenges faced in rural practice and gain an appreciation of the diversity of opportunities available in rural health.

VRHC 2023The conference, held in Geelong on 19-21 May 2023 was presented by the Rural Doctors Association of Victoria (RDAV) with a theme of ‘your rural medicine adventure' to illustrate the interesting journey of rural medicine, where it can take you, how it inspires you and how no two days are exactly the same.

Through sponsorship from the Gippsland and North West Victorian Regional Training Hubs, four junior doctors and six Monash students currently on rural placement were supported to attend the conference, and left feeling energised and inspired. Fourth year student, Sienna Beaves, felt that the conference really emphasised the variety of work, and the wide scope of practice that rural clinicians have.

“It’s been a privilege to speak to the doctors who are experts in their field, with a wealth of experience. The highlight for me was Dr Marilla Druitt’s session on chronic pelvic pain, which is an area I’m certainly interested in exploring as a career.”

Monash student and Australian Medical Students' Association Rural Committee Chairperson Khue Le found the conference was an amazing and insightful opportunity to explore the vastness of rural medicine careers including retrieval services, locum work and volunteering opportunities.

“I learnt that rural medicine is all about applying clinical skills, problem solving creatively, adapting to changes and quick thinking, all whilst building a strong connection with the community - which sounds like fun to me!”

End-to-End Rural Cohort student, Dianne Sanders, felt that a highlight of the conference was witnessing the friendships and supportive community that exists among the rural doctors.

“It's a great opportunity to talk to professionals with your industry questions, learn from others, and meet face-to-face with exhibitors representing colleges and organisations that are likely to be part of your professional future.”

The importance of self-care for rural health professionals was highlighted in a session on self-care and reflective practice delivered by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM). Student Anusha Maheshwari found the session very inspirational with a range of metaphors, real-life examples and interactive experiences.

Diane and Amy“It helped me identify how human physiology is catered towards protecting us from harm through stress, and how a variety of techniques can be used to help combat this and promote personal wellbeing. This is especially relevant as we move towards entering jobs that are highly demanding, require hypervigilance, and may sometimes lead to self-care being forgotten.”

At a trade table in the exhibitor hall, the Regional Training Hubs shared information with attendees about a number of useful resources; the Dr JuMP medical mentoring program, the Regional Medical Training website, and the DRIVERS research conference.

Professor Shane Bullock, the Head of School of Monash Rural Health was also in attendance at the conference and reflected on the value of the conference for rural health professionals.

“The conference provided a vital source of inspiration for students and young health professionals commencing their career, to see the range of opportunities and experience on offer in rural health, and the supportive network of rural practitioners available to help them on their journey.”


Monash Rural Health Regional Training Hubs

The Monash Rural Health Regional Training Hubs facilitate speciality training and career development opportunities for junior doctors, to help them live, work and train rurally.  The Monash Regional Training Hubs are supported by the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program of the Department of Health.