Seventeen medical students from Bunbury are set to graduate from the University of Western Australia’s medical school on Saturday, alongside 53 of their peers, the biggest number of rural background doctors to graduate in a single year.
For the fifth consecutive year more rural-origin medical graduates than even will take their professional oath as numbers continue to rise under UWA’s successful rural student recruitment program.
The program, now in its 16th year, has seen 325 rural WA students graduate the six-year medicine course.
Rural Clinical School of WA head professor David Atkinson said the ongoing increase in rural graduates was good news for healthcare across country WA.
“There is good evidence that rural-origin students are three times more likely to return to the country than their urban origin counterparts,” Professor Atkinson said.
“In addition, 19 students from this year’s rural graduating cohort spent a year training in the country with The Rural Clinical School of WA which makes it even more likely that they will return to the bush.”
He said it was very pleasing to see an increased number of medical students expressing an interest in becoming rural doctors.
“It is now clear that these programs are beginning to have a positive impact on the rural medical workforce and there are bigger numbers in the pipeline,” he said.
After graduating, the young doctors will undergo more vocational training before they can practise in regional communities.
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