A YOUNG and passionate Karen Coss "randomly" came to Tamworth as an intern more than 15 years ago.
That same energy and drive to help others made her the obvious choice for her new position in the top job at Tamworth hospital's emergency department (ED).
"I fronted up on my first day without knowing anyone here as an intern and I obviously really enjoyed it ... I've always found myself coming back here," Dr Coss said.
"Country people make such great patients; they are funny and they are tough and they are grateful."
Dr Coss took over as clinical director of Tamworth hospital's ED when the "grandfather of emergency medicine" Dr Nick Ryan retired after almost three decades.
For most of her career Dr Coss has worked at the hospital on and off as a specialist emergency physician.
She said it can be "hectic" and sometimes "heartbreaking".
But, it's the moments of beauty and joy and the feeling helping people gives her that keeps her going.
"We see the sickest of sick people, some horrendous injury and trauma and lots of beautiful salt-of-the-earth country folk," she said.
"When people come to emergency, they are really scared and are feeling really unwell or are in lots of pain and being able to do something in that moment ... it brings me a lot of satisfaction.
"I have had amazing conversations with all sorts of people on all sorts of days.
"They let you into their lives and for a little snippet I get to hear things about people they would never tell a stranger in the street."
Dr Coss said she was honoured to be the leader of a "clever" and dedicated group of staff at a hospital that has the magic combination of offering high-level care and a strong sense of community.
"One person's exceptional day when they come to emergency is the average day for an exceptional person, and I really think that rings true for the staff we have here," she said.
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