Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke with nursing graduate Tran-Nhi Huynh and Western NSW Local Health Services Manager Pauline Rowston

The Member for Cootamundra today met the newest addition to Grenfell Hospital’s nursing staff; Registered Nurse Tran-Nhi Huynh.

More than 100 new nurses and midwives are joining the ranks of West NSW Local Health District’s hospitals this year as part of a state-wide increase in front line workers.

The graduate program gives new medical staff the opportunity to live and work in rural and regional areas, getting a taste for life outside the state’s major cities.

“It’s so fantastic for new graduates to get the experience of working in rural and regional hospitals,” Ms Cooke said.

“Our hope is they start their careers in this part of the world and get to develop their skills much faster. Whereas in the city they are a small cog in a large machine, here they are on the front line of our healthcare.

“At the end of the program they can share their experiences with others and hopefully consider continuing their careers in a regional or rural area.

“The NSW Government has invested a record $2.8 billion to increase nurse and midwife numbers by 5,000 over four years across the state, every new front-line worker is a boost for a rural or regional hospital.”

Tran-Nhi Huynh has joined the Grenfell Hospital staff from Western Sydney and said the Grenfell community has been very welcoming.

“I chose to come here for the experience, see how health plays a part in this kind of community and see what life’s like out here,” Ms Huynh said.

“I wanted to move out of my comfort zone, I’m always in the city and there’s a lot of support in the city but you get to be a jack of all trades out here.”

Western NSW Local Health District Health Services Manager Pauline Rowston said the candidates are carefully chosen for the graduate scheme.

“The nurses do say when they’ve been here for a while they get such a wide variety of experiences. In the city they tend to be one of maybe 10 new grads and they are all competing, in a friendly way, for new experiences. But as the only new grad here you get opportunities and exposure that would take a lot longer to get in the cities,” Ms Rowston said.

“We only take the best out here. One day they can be dealing with a patient with a sore throat, the next a serious farm accident, and you’re putting all those skills you’ve learnt to work with great support around you.”