A group of 24 medical students from Sydney have recently returned home following a week-long visit to Narromine Public School in partnership with Hear our Heart.
Jason Djafar and Ming Sun were two of the student leaders from the Medical Outreachers program from University of NSW who travelled west to educate primary school students.
"I think it's something that is really important to our curriculum," Mr Djafar said
"We get taught in Sydney about rural health and the barriers but going out into the communities and Hear Our Heart is so wonderful in that.
"It lets us actually see the health impacts of otitis media in person and in the communities."
Mr Djafar also admitted both he and Ms Sun were considering returning to the country further along in their studies.
"For both Ming and I, we are considering doing a placement for our fifth and sixth years out in the country and a trip like this shows us what it would be like," he said.
"It really does build the passion for it.
"I think in university we learn more about how we are going to treat and manage the problem but we don't learn as much about how we are going to raise awareness and educate before you actually do an intervention."
Mr Djafar relished the chance to visit and praised the work of Hear Our Heart in educating about ear health.
"A program like Hear Our Heart going into the school doing hearing tests, puppet shows and teaching people how to blow the nose properly seem trivial at first but it is so important," he said.
"It's something we have come to appreciate in how important it was because it just helps fix the problem at its very source without needing antibiotics."
Ms Sun felt it was refreshing to go outside their comfort zones by learning in the field.
"I think a lot of our learning is lecture-based or even on placement it is in the hospital environment," she said.
"I think primary prevention and going out to educate and prevent the problem before it starts as well isn't something we are less exposed to.
"A lot of our medical training is about treating the problem after it has already occurred."
Ms Sun also admitted after talking with teachers from the school, the travelling medical students realised how different country life is.
"Even just like in the passing conversations that you have with people are ones which you would never have in a city space," she said,
For example, we were talking to a couple of teachers at Narromine Public [School] and they were telling us how their hospital didn't have a permanent doctor who they could go to and currently, their GP clinic is booked out until late August."
Ms Sun knows several students from the group took a lot of away from the visit and may look to return in the future.
"I think that was so impactful to hear from a conversation with them rather than a statistic in a lecture saying there is a lack of rural GPs never influenced us too," she said.
"I think it changed a lot of the kids' career paths to consider going rural in future years as well."
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