What is the Rural Doctors Network

Rural doctor

The NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) supports rural communities in New South Wales, Australia by providing a range of services and programs aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of rural and remote communities.

This includes supporting the recruitment and retention of rural doctors, promoting education and training opportunities for rural health professionals, and advocating for better health services and outcomes for rural communities. The RDN also works with the government and other organizations to address the specific health needs of rural communities, such as improving access to mental health services and addressing rural health workforce shortages.

The history of the rural doctors network:

RDN was established in 1988 as a means to help attract and retain rural general practitioners. Over the years, the organisation has evolved to address the changing needs of the rural healthcare industry. Today, RDN provides support for a wide range of healthcare professionals working in rural areas, including GPs, medical specialists, nurses, midwives, health administrators, carers, and more. The organization also collaborates with other professionals from various human services sectors, such as paramedics, pharmacists, and educators in schools and aged care facilities. In 2018, RDN marked its 30th anniversary of serving rural communities.

Why go rural?

There are many benefits of working as a rural doctor, the first (and most important) of which is you will be making a positive difference in communities where you are really needed. Due to demand, rural doctors can also earn great rates of pay in both rural locum and permanent roles. They gain unique experiences and adventures in some of Australia's most wildly beautiful and remote locations.

"My placement became my lifestyle over the past 9 years; I loved being a part of this amazing community ."

Said Dr Christine l' Anson of her time working as a doctor in Broken Hill.

How to become a member of the NSW Rural Doctors Network

Doctors and locum doctors can use the site to access RDN's tailored rural NSW recruitment support and practice managers can advertise GP and locum vacancies.

RDN membership is open to anyone with an interest in rural health and is free of charge. As a member, you will receive:

  • Regular updates on subsidised continuing professional development events and family-friendly programs;
  • Weekly email newsletters with news and updates on rural health workforce issues;
  • The opportunity to vote at the annual general meeting, depending on your membership category;
  • Exclusive discounts and offers.
  • For more information on the benefits of membership or to join now, please visit our website and complete the online application form.

"A good thing is that you get exposed to a lot of different mentors who are generally happy to help. You can gain expertise from a lot of different doctors with different approaches and outlooks. If you keep working with different people, you learn so much more. When you work in one place for a long time, there’s a bit of ‘group thinks’ – everyone assimilates to one way of working. You’ve got to go somewhere with a different way of working to learn."

Said Dr Henry Kurtze of his time working as a rural doctor.

How the Rural Doctors Network supports Australian doctors

The Rural Doctors Network (RDN) plays a crucial role in supporting Australian doctors who practice in rural and remote areas. By providing resources, training, and networking opportunities, the RDN ensures that healthcare professionals working in these regions can deliver high-quality patient care while maintaining their professional growth and personal well-being.

One of the primary functions of the RDN is to offer ongoing professional development opportunities tailored to the unique challenges faced by rural doctors. These opportunities include workshops, conferences, and online courses that address the specific medical needs of rural communities, as well as the diverse range of clinical presentations that rural doctors may encounter.

By equipping doctors with the necessary skills and knowledge, the RDN helps improve the overall standard of healthcare available in rural areas. In addition to professional development, the Rural Doctors Network assists in recruiting and retaining doctors in rural communities.

The RDN collaborates with local health services, medical schools, and government agencies to develop initiatives that attract and support medical practitioners in these regions. This includes offering financial incentives, such as scholarships and grants, to medical students and doctors who commit to working in rural areas.

The RDN also provides guidance and resources for doctors seeking to transition from urban to rural practice, ensuring a smooth and successful transition. It recognises the importance of fostering a strong sense of community among rural doctors. The organisation facilitates networking events and peer support programs that enable healthcare professionals to connect with one another, share experiences, and access valuable mentorship. By building a robust network of rural doctors, the RDN helps alleviate the professional isolation that can accompany working in remote areas.

The Rural Doctors Network also advocates for the needs of rural doctors and their communities at the national level. By working with government bodies and other stakeholders, the RDN promotes policies and initiatives that address the unique challenges faced by rural healthcare professionals and the populations they serve.

We have hundreds of rural doctor job vacancies across Australia, if you are interested in going rural, register, to have a chat with one of our team who can help find the perfect rural opportunity for you.

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Jordy Black
07 February 2023Article by Jordy BlackMedrecruit Editor