Six regional students look to the skies

Six rural health students studying at La Trobe University’s Bendigo and Mildura campuses have been awarded a $4,000 scholarship by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Victoria, including an opportunity to experience a day in the life of The Flying Doctor.

The scholarships are part of the Give Them Wings scholarship program, which aims to grow and better equip Victoria’s rural health workforce.

The students are studying a range of disciplines, including nursing, occupational therapy, paramedicine and biomedical science.

Head of the La Trobe Rural Health School, Professor Jane Mills, said she was thrilled that more La Trobe students than ever received a scholarship this year.

“We always receive excellent feedback from our students on their RFDS experience – in particular, seeing first-hand how the organisation supports rural communities,” Professor Mills said.

“Many of La Trobe’s rural health students are already committed to working in rural or regional areas after they graduate – but initiatives like this really cement their desire to give back to communities that need it most.”

RFDS Victoria Chief Executive, Scott Chapman, said the scholarships acknowledge the additional costs rural and regional university students face when undertaking their studies.

“By supporting health care students in the early stages of their career, they are more likely to complete their studies and return to their local communities to work,” Mr Chapman said.

“The bush needs more health workers of all kinds, and these scholarships are another way we can work to improve health outcomes in Victoria.”

Since 2012, RFDS Victoria has offered 39 scholarships, with more than 20 awarded to La Trobe University students.

Mildura-based nursing student, Sam Miller, said she was excited to receive the scholarship.

“I am currently working as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse at Mildura Base Public Hospital and decided to upskill to become a Registered Nurse, as I want a career in emergency care, paediatrics or as a flight nurse,” Ms Miller said.

“It feels amazing to be awarded this scholarship and I’m very excited about getting to experience a day in the life up in the air with RFDS!”

The mother-of-three said she hopes she inspires other Indigenous people to study at university.

“When I first started my Bachelor of Nursing, it was hard, but once I made a routine, I found it much easier. It feels amazing knowing I’ll be inspiring other Indigenous people to study,” Ms Miller said.

Bendigo-based paramedic student, Apryl Start, said she was looking forward to the RFDS experience.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the scholarship; I have always had a keen interest in the health field but more specifically, in rural emergency response and lifesaving,” Ms Start said.

“The scholarship allows me the opportunity to share with others my passion for studying paramedicine, and supporting rural communities by delivering essential health care services.”

Image: Bendigo-based paramedic student, Apryl Start

Media Contact: Kate O’Connor | k.o’ | 0436 189 629