A bush doctor in training

The Yass medical fraternity will be treated to an extra pair of hands on deck for two weeks as a third-year medical student spends time training in Yass.

Laura Elsom, from Sydney, is being sponsored by Yass Valley Council for this year’s Bush Bursary scholarship.

During her stay she will spend time at Old Linton Medical Practice, Atherfield Medical Practice, Linton Pharmacy and Physiotherapy and Home Living Support Services.

The University of Western Sydney student said she was looking forward to her time in Yass, her first time in a country town this size.

She arrived on Monday morning and will stay for the week before returning from Christmas break on January 14 for another week.

“I haven’t had any rural medical experience, so it will be good for me to know the challenges,” she said.

“In the city there are 1000s of GPs and everything is close to home, there are lots of services and nothing is too far away… but here you don’t really have those options.”

Yass was her first preference among choices like Goulburn, Orange, Moree, Griffith – and a lot of other places she had never heard of.

“I heard it was a nice place, and it’s close to Canberra… not too far from Sydney that I couldn’t drive down,” she said.

“It was also one of the ones on the list that I had actually heard of.”

She also has distant family connection here through her mother’s cousin.

When she finishes her studies she hopes to move into the specialist fields of obstetrics, general practice or plastic/reconstructive surgery “but that’s my crazy aspiration… they only accept 20 students per year [Australia-wide].”

“I’d like to do cleft palate and burn surgeries… and I’d like to do an elective with [former Australian of the Year burns specialist] Dr Fiona Wood.”

But for now, the 22-year-old plans to explore the local area with Yass Valley Council host Cathy Campbell.

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