IF YOU go to visit your GP or show up at Accident and Emergency - or a variety of other medical settings - over the next few months, chances are there will be a young doctor in attendance with the usual experienced medical staff.
About 40 new medical students have come to the Northern Rivers in the past few weeks and are settling in to complete their studies in rural and regional medicine here.
As part of their orientation program, most of the 12 Wollongong University medical students and 18 from the University of Western Sydney came together on Monday night at the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH).
UCRH North Coast is in partnership with the universities to recruit students to this area. Students from the University of Sydney and Bond University are also part of the program.
"Lismore is very popular from the students' point of view," academic coordinator and senior lecturer Jane Barker told The Echo.
"These young doctors are all nearing the end of their training, and they will always remember their first postings.
"We find patients are the very best teachers of medical students and we're always very grateful to the patients and medical staff who are always willing to help them."
Sydney Uni student Tara Tran has been in Lismore since January and has gained experience in critical care, anaesthetics, accident and emergency, intensive care rehab, and mental health.
"I've also climbed Mt Warning, with due respect to the Bundjalung people, been to Minyon Falls and lots of markets and beaches," Tara said.
Christopher Selvaraj grew up in Sydney and has only been in Lismore for a couple of weeks.
"I've never experienced a rural environment or lifestyle," he said. "I've always had a view of a different part of Australia - but I really like it here."
Christopher is currently working with Lismore's oncology unit. He said every placement has something new to offer.
Naomi Piyaratna was enjoying her third day away from home. The Wollongong student is in her second-last year of four, and the last phase of her clinical training in Australia. With family roots in Sri Lanka, she wants to practise medicine there.
She also intends to master the art of surfing.