Fostering a passion for rural medicine in SA


“It’s the moments that you connect with your patients when just for a moment all you think about is how you can do the best thing for your patient and help them. It’s a moment of calm in the whirlwind of being a medical student.”

For MD Rural Stream student Sam Sfreddo, the memory of comforting a pre-operative patient preparing for surgery is a moment that has left a lasting imprint.

“The patient was speaking quietly and held my hand while going under the anaesthetic and said ‘make sure I’m OK and look after me’,” Sam says. “It’s not a glamorous story of saving a life but it’s a connection.”

Sam is part of the MDRS cohort undertaking their studies in the Greater Green Triangle region, but Medicine and becoming a doctor is a far cry from where his career pathway began.

While he enjoyed science and maths in high school and had an initial plan to study medicine, he instead found himself choosing a Bachelor of Commerce.

“But I was not passionate about it,” Sam admits frankly. “Then when I worked for corporate companies and was even less passionate, I knew I needed something with a bit of intellect to keep me interested in my career while interacting with and helping other people.

“So, I went back and studied medical biotechnology with the intention of getting into medicine.”

Work, learn and be part of a rural community

Although not from a rural background, Sam had always wanted to live in a regional area and, after being accepted into Medicine at Flinders, applied to be part of the MD Rural Stream after hearing about the program from previous students.

The MDRS provides students with an opportunity to work, learn and be part of a rural community for the third year of their course. Students experience the ability to develop and grow in skills through interesting clinical medicine in a supported learning environment.

In the future, Sam says he hopes to become a rural generalist and is keen to have a small farm where he can pursue his passion for sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

“I am also extremely passionate about the future opportunities for engaging with and training young doctors in regional areas and encouraging rural students to study medicine.”

Learn more about studying Medicine at Flinders

Learn more about opportunities through Flinders Rural and Remote Health SA

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