The opportunity to work in remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberly was a life changing experience for School of Medicine student Megan Telford.
Not only did the experience re-inforce a long-held aim to pursue a career in rural health, her outstanding track-record ‘on-the-job’ led to her winning the 2018 Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Medical Student of the Year award.
Currently in her final year at Notre Dame’s Rural Clinical School in Wagga Wagga, Megan was nominated for the prestigious award by the Riverina Rural Training Hub. The citation praised Megan’s “deep-seated commitment to rural health, her outstanding advocacy and strong sense of community an outstanding academic record, gentle manner, interpersonal skills and the innovative methods she introduced to better track patient presentations and health summaries”.
“During her time at Wagga, Megan has actively participated in a variety of fundraising activities for local charities,” said RDAA president, Dr Adam Coltzau.
“She has also been active in organising numerous rural high school visits across the region to promote healthy living to students and to encourage them to consider health careers.”
The RDAA Medical Student of the Year award is accompanied by a $2000 grant to put towards a rural health project.
In her acceptance speech, Megan said she had originally enrolled in an Arts & Sciences program at Notre Dame before realising that she wanted to pursue a career in rural medicine – a decision shaped, in part, by her experience growing up in Bellingen, northern NSW.
“For me, medicine offered a perfect balance of being able to work closely with people and also being able to work in a rural community while still having a very rewarding and successful career,” she said.
Throughout her time at the Wagga Wagga Clinical School Megan has undertaken medical placements across regional NSW and in the Kimberley region of WA.
“I think it’s important to get city-based students out to the bush to experience rural medicine, even if it's only for a short placement,” she said.
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