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Med grad's time at rural campus inspires her to be intern in Port Macquarie

SOPHIE Chatterton's Port Macquarie experience as a medical student enticed her back as an intern.

Ten medical graduates this week started their one-year internship at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.

Dr Chatterton is among them after a two-year stint at the University of NSW Rural Clinical School Port Macquarie Campus as part of her medical degree.

"It was amazing - that is why I came back," she said.

"I got a lot more hands-on experience and had a lot more opportunity here.

"I probably wouldn't have picked here [Port Macquarie Base Hospital] if I hadn't been here already."

Dr Chatterton said medicine was an exciting field and she never really considered another career option.

Intern Dr Toby Messina, who hails from Sydney's northern beaches, worked as a electrical engineer before pursuing a career in medicine.

"Personally, I like interacting with people and helping people," he said.

Intern Dr Paige Corbett is one of three Aboriginal medical graduates in rural hospitals across the state.

Her GP, and University of Newcastle head of Indigenous Health Dr Peter O'Mara, inspired Dr Corbett to study medicine.

Dr Corbett enjoys the problem-solving aspects of medicine coupled with the helping people nature of the profession.

The size of Port Macquarie Base Hospital and its proximity to Forster were drawcards for Dr Corbett during her intern year.

The 10 interns are amid orientation this week before they hit the hospital wards next week.

They met on Monday with Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick and Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams.

Mrs Williams said there were 983 medical interns places across the state, which was a record.

She said it was a privilege to be at the hospital to meet the new interns at the beginning of their journey as doctors.

"They also get to experience the wonderful lifestyle that goes with working in a regional community and hopefully they might be enticed to work in a local hospital or as GPs," she said.

The interns' rotations include emergency and surgery.

Mr Dowrick said the internship program was one part of the overall clinical training program within the local health district.

"This [internship program] helps us continue to mentor and train the next generation of the medical workforce," he said.

"In the last five years, we have increased the number of medical officers in our hospitals from 200 to 280 and that will continue to grow over the next five years."

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