The SE NSW Regional Training HUB is a new feature of the Rural Clinical School, creating opportunities for ANU Medical School students to continue prevocational and vocational training in rural Australia. We assist students and junior doctors with rural career support, and assistance with rural Internship, Resident and Registrar training positions.
The SE NSW Regional Training HUB supports the region of SENSW, encompassing Cowra, Young, Bega, Cooma, Batemans Bay and Goulburn. There are exciting opportunities in many specialities throughout this region and within rural Australia. The HUB is applying for new specialist positions in regional hospitals, supporting supervisors and partnering with LHDs, health services and training organisation to ensure junior doctors thrive in rural medicine.
How to become a rural doctor
Learn below what is required at each step to become a rural doctor.
After graduating from ANU, students will apply for their Internship year.
This is usually offered as a 2-year contract, comprised of one year as an Intern, after which they may be eligible for General Registration as a Doctor through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
The first year of Internship is referred to as Post Graduate Year 1 (PGY1), the second Post Graduate Year 2 (PGY2), during which junior doctors would be employed as a Resident if they have completed all necessary aspects of their Internship; usually totaling 4 or 5 rotations.
Interns must complete the following terms in order to be eligible for general registration:
- 8 weeks in emergency medical care
- 10 weeks in medicine
- 10 weeks in surgery, and
- a range of other approved terms to make up a minimum of 47 weeks full-time equivalent.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) have negotiated an agreement by with each state and territory of Australia guarantee to provide medical Intern positions for every Australian Government supported medical student graduating from their jurisdiction. Thus all states/territories enforce priority ranking systems in their Internship offers. However, in numerous cases exceptions are made for rural placements. Please refer to each state below for specific details on their processes.
For example, in ACT, graduates of the Australian National University are given first priority for Internship positions over other interstate applicants. Applications for this avenue are accessible via the ACT erecruit website.
The official AMSA guide for current internship year is also available here.
Rural hospitals provide an excellent environment for Interns to learn quickly, develop a varied skill set, be exposed to a broad array of medical conditions, and get hands-on experience during their first year as a junior doctor. It is a great asset to a resume to demonstrate flexibility, responsibility and a broad range of procedural experience. Additionally, this opportunity widens their supervisory networking relationships for employability in the future.
Through a new Intern position funding program, called the Rural Junior Training Innovation Fund (RJDTIF), it is possible to complete a rural GP practice term acquiring valuable skills to prepare junior doctors for General Practice. These positions are available in SE NSW at Bega and Cowra.
Click on the relevant state for information on Internships across Australia.
Australian Capital Territory
ACT Health and Southern NSW Local Health District have developed a unique opportunity for Junior Medical Officers (JMOs) to complete part or all of their Internship at South East Regional Hospital (SERH) Bega or secondment for part of the year at Goulburn Base Hospital (GBH).
If you are interested in one of these rural Internships, simply contact the Canberra Hospital and Health Service Medical Officer Support, Credentialing, Employment and Training Unit on 6244 2779 to express interest.
All information on the ACT Internships can be found on the ACT Health website.
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New South Wales
In NSW, the general Internship application program is called the Prevocational Training Application Program (PTAP) and is managed by a NSW Health unit called the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI). This process categorises Networks in order of preference, and undertakes an “optimised preference program” using an algorithm that places students by merit. Through the algorithm (which is used for the main round offers and direct regional allocation) students are offered position not based on merit but on their preferences and priority system. Similar to the ACT, NSW gives preference to graduates from their universities. To see where you would be ranked in the system please refer to the HETI website.
It is important to note that this priority system is not as significant for rural Internships under the Rural Preferential Recruitment (RPR) pathway. Here, recruitment is 'merit based', in that selection is predominately based on performance in an interview. However, Category 1 and 2 applicants will be offered positions before to Category 3. You can apply for these positions through the PTAP website and ring the RPR team on 02 9844 6562 with any further questions about this processes or email at HETI-Internship@health.nsw.gov.au . Please refer to the Fact sheet and the procedure for the 2021 clinical year for more information.
Hospitals eligible for the RPR for 2019 are:
- Albury Wodonga Health
- Coffs Harbour Health Campus
- Dubbo Base Hospital
- Lismore Base Hospital
- Manning Rural Referral Hospital
- Orange Health Service
- Port Macquarie Base Hospital
- Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital
- The Maitland Hospital
- The Tweed Hospital
- Wagga Wagga Base Hospital
- Broken Hill Health Service
All WA Internship placements are managed by the Postgraduate Medical Council of WA (PMCWA) via the centralised Intern application process. These contracts are often 3 years to encourage stability and retention. Please contact PMCWA to discuss questions relating to the recruitment process.
As of 2019, it is possible to complete the full Internship year in one of two WA country locations; Albany Health Campus or Bunbury Hospital.
There are also rotations available for Interns employed at some Perth metropolitan hospitals (Fiona Stanley Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital or Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital). The locations and durations of these rotations vary, therefore we recommend applying directly to WA Country Health Service (WACHS) as the primary employer on 6553 0925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org..
The Community Residency Program (CRP) is a short-term training placement available to Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) in a variety of rural settings across WA. The CRP is coordinated by the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and applications are made through the centralized RMO application process. During the placement RMOs spend a minimum of 20 per cent of their time in a community setting such as hospital GP clinics, Royal Flying Doctor Service and other outreach clinics. In 2021, towns on the CRP include (subject to change):
- Kimberley: Kununurra and Derby
- Pilbara: Port Hedland and Karratha
- Midwest: Geraldton
- Wheatbelt: Narrogin
- Goldfields: Esperance and Kalgoorlie
Queensland Health coordinates the annual campaign for general applications to recruit Interns for positions in Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) across the state. Applications are lodged via a central online application portal. The portal allows applicants to assign a preference to all participating hospitals from highest to lowest, number 1 being the most preferred hospital they wish to work at.
In QLD, it is possible to enter onto the GP Proceduralist or Rural Generalist Pathway from Internship. This is organized by the Generalist Pathway through the Queensland Government. Applications and interviews for the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway occur prior to the general applications- usually in April. Applications are highly weighed on your performance in the interview process and rural intention.
Positions are available via this pathway for:
- Hervey Bay
- Sunshine Coast University Hospital
- Mount Isa
In Victoria, Internships are coordinated via the Postgraduate Medical Council Victoria (PMCV). Through a computer matching system you nominate hospital preferences through PMCV. In addition, you must address specific selection criteria via each nominated hospitals own website.
PMCV have a priority ranking system based on which state you have trained. However, if applying for an Internship in rural Victoria it is possible to apply for special consideration which may improve you priority rank by one position. To apply for this benefit, a special consideration request form should be submitted through the PMCV system. Special consideration are for those with a connection to the area and clear rural intention.
For rural Internships, you can nominate to join the Rural Community Intern Training (RCIT) program. Here, Interns considering a career in rural general practice can undertake the majority of their training in a range of smaller rural health settings. Applications to the RCIT program are made through the PMCV computer matching system. The RCIT program is organised by 5 separate programs for 4 distinct regions of Victoria.
The following RCIT programs are accredited by PMCV:
- South West Community Intern - Warrnambool, Camperdown, Hamilton, Portland, Lismore and Macarthur
- Grampians Rural Community Intern program – Ballarat, East Grampians Health Service, Maryborough, Arat
- East Gippsland Community Based Intern program - Sale and Bairnsdale
- Murray to Mountains Intern Program - Wangaratta, Wodonga, Yarrawonga, Cobram, Mt Beauty, Falls Creek, Benalla, Bright & Mt Hotham, Numurkah and Nathalia.
- Echuca Intern Network - Echuca
Contracts through SA Health are organized by South Australian Medical Education and Training (SAMET). There are four Local Health Networks in South Australia where you may undertake your Intern year. During this year you may request, or be required, to undertake one or more rotations in any of SA Health's accredited Intern posts.
- Country Health South Australia Local Health Network (CHSALHN) - Adelaide hills, Barossa, Eyre Peninsula, Western SA, Far North, Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Limestone Coast, Murray Mallee, Yorke and Mid North.
- Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN)- Lyell McEwin and Modbury Hospital
- Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN)- Flinders Medical Centre and Noarlunga Hospital
- Central Adelaide Local Health Network- Royal Adelaide and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Rural options in SA are available in Whyalla and Mt Gambier. There is also an opportunity to negotiate a 2 or 3 year contract after your Internship, and complete an advanced skills year in Emergency Medicine at Mount Gambier.
Through the normal application process, you either nominate Whyalla or Mt Gambier as your first preference. This places you on the rural Intern pathway. Your application will be reviewed and if you are shortlisted you will be asked to attend an interview. Offers are made based on merit and rural intent. The category system does not apply in this process. The SA Intern Information pack provides all the details, please call SAMET on 08 8226 7231 with any questions.
For more information about SA Rural Intern Program, please check here.
The Intern application process is managed by NT Medical Education and Training Centre (NTMETC) through a central allocation of eligible applicants. All applications are categorized by merit and a lengthy (seven categories) priority ranking applies to all allocations including rural positions. The majority of these places are designated for NT bonded students and therefore places are fairly competitive. There are no separate application processes for rural rotations. RDH and ASH are the primary allocation centers and Interns can rotate to other rural locations from these facilities. Please refer to the accreditation status table which outlines the specific terms available rurally (Gove, Katherine and Tennant Creek). Intern positions are allocated within the two NT Health Services:
- Top End Health Service (TEHS) - Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH), Gove District Hospital, Katherine District Hospital
- Central Australia Health Service (CAHS) - Alice Springs Hospital (ASH), Tennant Creek Hospital
Following submission of applications, the interview process and offers of employment will be organised by the individual health service. More positions may be available in the future with the opening of the Palmerston hospital in 2018.
Applications to Tasmania are made through a state wide online portal available through the Department of Health and Human Services. During this process you will be asked to preference three hospitals:
- North West Regional Hospital
- Launceston General Hospital
- The Royal Hobart Hospital
There are no separate rural application processes however each hospital has rural non-core primary care rotations available (13 weeks). In 2018, these were;
- Queenstown and King island through North West Regional Hospital
- Hounville from Royal Hobart
- Flinders island and St Helens from Launceston
Applications will be shortlisted based on the priority ranking of Tasmanian Health Service. If shortlisted you will undergo an interview process where successful applications will be placed in order of merit. Interview scores will account for 70% of the overall score and each referee report accounting for 15%.
Please contact PMCT on email@example.com and 0448 003 439.
Upon completion of the PGY1 year (Internship) an Intern will then become a Resident Medical Officer (RMO).
RMOs are registered doctors who continue working in a hospital setting for another year or more before specialising. Others may decide to stay in the hospital system and become Career Medical Officers (CMOs).
If RMOs wish to become a GP Proceduralist, it is possible in New South Wales to enter into the Foundation Year program in PGY2 through Health Education and Training Institute. In NSW you will need to apply for this year at the end of your Internship.
In Australia, most RMO positions are advertised on State and Territory health recruitment sites.
If you have a particular rural hospital in mind, call the Director of Medical Services at that facility to register your interest. PGY2 and PGY3 RMO positions are available at many regional hospitals. If you are interested in an RMO position in a rural setting, please call the HUB on 0477 932 327.
For most doctors the next step along the pathway is deciding what area of medicine to specialise in.
Many specialist training posts are positioned in urban environments. However, in some specialties opportunities exist to train wholly, or partially in rural areas through rotations from a major teaching hospital. Call us at the HUB to talk about your individual circumstances and we will find out if there are rural training posts in your area of interest.
To learn about different medical specialties and compare your options, visit the AMA website and websites of the specialty colleges below.
- Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
- Australian Curriculum Framework for Junior Doctors
- Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
- College of Intensive Care Medicine
- Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
- The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA)
- The Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators
- The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
There are many rewarding rural GP register training opportunities available throughout SENSW and Australia. To learn more about this process contact your Australian General Practice Training Provider (AGPT).
GP application process
- Apply to Australian General practice Program (AGPT): they assess and if accepted, will send apllication to your nominated College.
- Apply to RACGP or ACRRM: they assess and if accepted will refer you to the RTO.
- Register with RTO who manage registrar training placements and training requirements. If completed satisfactory, sit College exams.
- Sit RACGP or ACCRM exams.
There are three main organisations involved in General Practice training.
- The Australian Government - Australian General Practice Training Program (AGPT)
- The Colleges - either the Royal Australian College of General Partitioners (RACGP) or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
- The Regional Training Organisations, which vary between state and territories:
- NSW and ACT - GP Synergy
- Northern Territory - Northern Territory General Practice Education
- North Western Queensland - Generalist Medical Training
- South Eastern Queensland - General Practice Training Queensland
- South Australia - GPEx
- Victoria Eastern - Eastern Victoria GP Training
- Victoria Western - Murray City Country Coast
- Tasmania - General Practice Training Tasmania
- Western Australia - Western Australian General Practice Education and Training
What is a rural generalist?
Rural GPs are exposed to a diverse medical scope of practice both within the practice and hospital setting. Some therefore choose to obtain advanced skills in certain fields, such as Obstetrics and Anaesthetics. This training is often referred to as “advanced skills training”.
These specialised GPs are referred to as Rural Generalists or GP Proceduralists. Procedural skills in Anaesthetics and Obstetrics and Gynecology, allow a GP to be employed as a GP Anaesthetist or GP Obstetrican at a hospital.
Other specialties include paediatrics, palliative care, emergency medicine, and mental health. These advanced skills as known as non-procedural, providing doctors with specialty skills to better care for their patients. This is particularly valuable in a rural setting when specialist physicians are less available.
This year also provides valuable experience in an area of interest within a rich, intensive, supportive learning environment, which may otherwise take years to acquire.
Contact the HUB on 0477 932 327 for information on AST and Rural Generalist programs in all other states/territories.
Advanced skills training (AST) requires one year of further training and clinical experience in addition to General Practice training, totaling 4 years. AST is overseen by the relevant specialty college and leads to qualifications that meet the accreditation standards of that college.
After you have completed your AST training and GP training you will receive fellowship through:
- Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
- Royal Australian College of General Partitioners (RACGP) - with an Advanced Rural General Practice qualification
ACRRM is a four year program because the AST year is compulsory. RACGP is a three year program with the addition of one year which is required if you want to be a Rural Generalist.
You will need to decide which College you want to seek Fellowship with and a handy comparison guide can be found through GP Synergy.
Congratulations on becoming a rural doctor!
Rural doctor resources
Follow these links to find resources for rural doctors:
- NSW Rural Doctors Network
- Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine
- Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection
- Australian Government Department of Health
- Australian Medical Association
- Australian Medical Council
- Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia
- Department of Human Services (Medicare)
- Medical Board of Australia (AHPRA)
- Medicare Provider Numbers
- NSW Ministry of Health
- NSW Office of Industrial Relations
- NSW Rural Medical Family Network
- Parents & Citizens' Association
- Rural Doctors Association of Australia