Empowering our next regional doctors

Being a medical student in rural New South Wales (NSW) comes with extra challenges compared to their peers who study in the state’s cities or major metropolitan areas.

All students must work through medical emergency simulations to comply with the modules needed for their medical training. However, these simulations are only available on specialist equipment that offers as close to a real-life medical situation as possible.

The challenge for medical students and professionals in regional NSW is that these simulation centres are only found in metropolitan areas. As a result, students must travel hundreds of kilometres to access them.

But this is about to change. The Newcrest Sustainability Fund has partnered with Charles Sturt University Foundation to establish a rural health simulation centre in Orange – a regional hub that’s very accessible for the state’s rural students.

Professor Lesley Forster, Charles Sturt School of Rural Medicine, said:

“The Newcrest Rural Health Simulation Centre is a ground-breaking milestone for the medical community and rural Australia. It will provide students from the Charles Sturt School of Rural Medicine with vital training equipment, such as the latest simulation technology, which is currently only accessible in metropolitan locations.”

Project Purpose

The centre will help rural medical students conveniently access facilities where they can immerse themselves in a simulated emergency situation for the most real-life experience possible. In addition, the training opportunities will enhance their professional preparedness and technique development.

The range of state-of-the-art equipment includes an immersive interaction ward, a resuscitation room complete with simulated mannequins, a fully equipped training ambulance, and a control centre.

To ensure the centre operates as a self-sufficient space and meets all students’ needs, it also features breakout rooms, conferences and communal areas, quiet spaces, and a fully stocked kitchen.

Industry professionals will also benefit from this local training facility. For example, practising physicians looking to experience the latest medical technologies will have access to the closer centre in Orange – saving crucial time away from their patients.

Sarah Ansell, CEO of Charles Sturt University Foundation Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be able to work with Newcrest on this exciting initiative and thank them for their vision and community-focused generosity. Support such as this reaches beyond our students into our communities providing essential resources and opportunities to create new knowledge.”

The development of the centre is already in its second stage. Phase one of the Orange-based centre was opened in July 2022, and students from Charles Sturt School of Rural Medicine have been benefiting from its facilities and training since then.

The second stage is expected to start in January 2023, with the fully functioning centre completed and active by mid-2023.


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