Working towards my goal of becoming an Aboriginal doctor I believe that I can contribute in numerous ways to help our mob when I am qualified. I aim to provide support and advocation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families. One of my aspirations is to work for a First Nations healthcare service. I strongly believe that familiarity and understanding through empathy and lived experience will be a valuable contribution to improving health and well-being. In a health service I may be the first contact for patients coming in and I believe I can provide a culturally safe experience for mob.
Having an Aboriginal doctor can help patients feel more comfortable in a daunting setting, however due to the low numbers of First Nations Health workers, we require allies to be on board as well. Creating an environment where all health care workers in a clinic or hospital are culturally safe will be quite a challenge, however it is a passion of mine, and I will do everything I can to help improve this. I am very open about my culture, and I enjoy educating others to the best of my ability. I believe it is non-Indigenous peoples responsibility to educate themselves, however I am happy to do so if I know it will contribute to a better environment.
First Nations People deserve time and respect to feel comfortable in a health care setting, something that is lacking in health services. Many health care professionals focus on the condition and how to treat whilst not taking time to build effective rapport. I endeavour to break down the barriers and treat our people with humility and respect, with a rapport focus initially rather than the condition. If I see there is an issue with a patient not feeling comfortable or not being treated right I will speak up. I believe to move forward and help our people we need more voices and allies, an aspect that I can help with.
During my studies I have participated in community service through an internship program, where I worked at various health care organisations on my university holidays. The experience I have gained through working with health care professionals, assisting patients and being familiar with the hospital setting will contribute to my growth and learning. My background and experience will help me reach my goal to become an Aboriginal Doctor who will be able to provide holistic care.
I am an extremely hard worker who has overcome adversity to get to the position I am in today. I did not think university was a realistic option in my early 20’s and to be training to become a doctor shows my resilience and determination. I will continue to work hard and contribute to our people and help wherever I can as the journey has just begun.
In my first half of the year I participated in two rotations for the duration of 9 weeks each. My first rotation was Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O/G), an amazing introduction to 2023. I was able to work alongside a great team who were very keen on educating me throughout. I attended many antenatal, foetal monitoring and high risk clinics and the obstetricians taught me great techniques with clinical examination and patient approach whilst educating me on important topics and testing my knowledge. My most memorable moment was assisting in a caesarean section and I even got the chance to cut the cord. The variety of medical and surgical practice in O/G was very enjoyable and my favourite rotation to date.
I then transitioned into psychiatry, a contrast to my first block where I had to switch my mindset quickly. I spent 2 weeks at a time in different areas such as an adult inpatient ward (x2), community psychiatry and adolescent in patient setting. Every area had different patient population and I was able to sit alongside a psychiatrist and listen to their approach to the patient, followed by discussion afterwards. In this field it is important to debrief as it can be quite confronting. I was fortunate to be able to take my own histories with selected patients and present my findings to the doctor I was with. This allowed me to consolidate my knowledge and find the areas I need to improve. In my adult in patient block there were many patients who received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to treat their severe mental health conditions. I was able to examine the patient post ECT by checking neurological signs to make sure there weren’t any serious side effects.
Throughout my 2 rotations I managed to keep up with my fitness playing football and I found the balance to be helpful during my studies. The remainder of the year I will be doing General Practice and Paediatrics, both exciting areas that I am keen to get exposure to. I can’t wait to build on my knowledge and one step closer to becoming a doctor.