A rural medicine career change starts in Orange

If you want to make a real difference to the nation’s health, consider a rural medicine career. Charles Sturt University student Anthony Vidler made the move from a career in sports science to studying the Doctor of Medicine at our Orange campus. It’s transformed his life.

Growing up in the bush

Growing up in the rural Queensland town of Emerald, Anthony sometimes felt his career options were limited. But his rural roots also led him to find his purpose in regional and rural medicine.

“Emerald is a small town in the central highlands of Queensland with a population of about 14,000. Mining and farming really drive the region. Like most rural towns, the social and career prospects were definitely lacking.

“Emerald provided me with a looking glass into the health disparity between the city and the country. Particularly in aspects of youth mental health and illness resulting from obesity, drugs and alcohol. This drove my ambition to work in exercise science. However, as my career developed, that drive grew into a desire to pursue a career in medicine.”

Anthony’s greatest discovery

Anthony’s former career as a sports scientist working with rehab and bariatrics (the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity) was a great base from which to build a medicine career.

“It really triggered my desire to merge the two spaces that made me happiest – working for people who are at their most vulnerable and the human body. For me, a career in medicine has been a discovery. Until my late thirties I never felt confident that my academic ability was of a standard that would enable me to be accepted into medicine.”

For Anthony, being accepted into a medicine degree was a dream come true – stirring plenty of emotions.

“Elation, fear, anxiety and pride. I was obviously excited; however, a small part of me always felt medicine was somewhat of a pipe dream. When the offer arrived, I felt like I had won some form of admission lottery.”

Student with an anatomical model studying rural medicine techniques

Rural medicine gives you the power to change lives

You don’t need to head to the big smoke to study medicine. With Charles Sturt, you can study your medicine degree at Orange in the Central West. For Anthony, changing to a career in rural medicine has many benefits.

“Professionally, rural medicine offers you diversity and opportunity to make some rather significant changes to the lives of others. I feel the lifestyle and people in regional and rural areas are more conducive to building enduring relationships. Big cities can sometimes make me feel claustrophobic. I also hope to mix my career as a doctor with my cattle farming interests.

Anthony knows rural and regional healthcare needs a boost. There’s a clear need for more medical doctors in bush communities.

“I feel we can do more to improve the services and accessibility of quality healthcare outside of metropolitan areas. But I also understand the challenges that exist in making it a reality. For me, it’s more about being the best doctor I can be. And doing all that I can to improve health outcomes in regional and remote areas at the doctor-patient level, regardless of how large or small my role is.”

Get practical experience

When you study medicine with Charles Sturt, you get practical experience from the start. That means learning how to intubate patients in the clinical skills rooms. Using the ultrasound machine to diagnose patient conditions. Learning about body systems and organs in the anatomy lab. You get essential clinical skills and knowledge.

“I think it’s amazing. Learning from a textbook has never been a strength of mine, so a more kinaesthetic approach is certainly more appealing to me. The Charles Sturt approach also helps maintain academic motivation, with regular reminders of what you’re working toward. The placements begin early in the degree and they are varied so you’re constantly meeting a broad range of professionals in ever-changing settings. That’s really beneficial, helping me become a practitioner of diverse abilities.”

“Charles Sturt was my second interview with medical schools. After the interview, I felt so much more comfortable with the staff. I was happy to study anywhere, but I’m very relieved to be doing my rural medicine training Charles Sturt in Orange.”

Anthony Vidler, who is studying rural medicine, in front of a Charles Sturt University sign.

“I’m absolutely loving the course. It surprised me how approachable the staff are. I thought of med school being conducted by professors and faculty who viewed you as a subordinate minion, but that’s just not the case. The entire faculty is approachable and just as motivated to see the cohort succeed as the students themselves.”

“There are so many specialties and sub-specialties within medicine that it would be foolish to only consider one career path. I love it all so far, but I figure I’ll come across a field that will really stir some passion and that will inevitably guide my career in medicine.”

Study rural medicine with Charles Sturt

Start your rural medicine career change with the Doctor of Medicine, Charles Sturt’s Joint Program in Medicine in partnership with Western Sydney University. Learn specialised skills and get a broad range of rural medicine training. You can become the doctor that regional and rural Australia needs.

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