The nervous excitement among the 19 young medical interns was palpable outside Orange Hospital on Thursday morning.
It was orientation week for the new doctors - all of them recently selected from a competitive field of over 150 graduates vying for a place as one of the service's new faces.
The youngest of the group was 23-year-old Baden Sinclair from Bathurst who had been away in Sydney for the past five years at medical school.
"I only decided I wanted to do medicine in year 12. It was quite a last-minute decision and I'm so glad I did. I really, really do love it," the All Saint's College graduate said.
Also to make the final cut was Orange's Emily Laynor, 35, who graduated from Kinross Wolaroi School in 2002.
After many years away from home, which had included living in Canberra, Melbourne, Canada and Chile - in addition to Sydney where she had studied medicine - she was very happy to be back, now with two children in tow.
Another of the interns was Aspasia Manos, 31. Originally from Canada, she had come to Australia to study medicine, specifically.
Like many of her peers, Ms Manos said she had been eager to begin her career at a rural hospital.
"We chose Orange but Orange also chose us," she said.
"The nice thing about being rural is that, contrary to our counterparts in the city, we'll get a lot more hands-on experience."
Orange Hospital's director of medical services, Dr Sid Vohra, said the 19 interns will now embark on a two-year program at the facility, working across every specialised unit.
"Orange is a very popular place to live in [and it has] the type of facility and hospital that's typically only in the city," he said.
"And [interns] have the supportive environment of working really closely with their consultants."
Medical administration officer Carlie Warner added that somewhere between 150 and 180 graduates had applied: "Orange is pretty competitive. There's a real preferential pathway it's very sought after."
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