Lachlan Jackson
Lachlan Jackson

Lachlan Jackson

Rural Medical Scholarship 2018

University of Newcastle (NSW)

Tamworth Clinical School
Scholarship Awarded 2018

Sponsored by:
Rotary District 9650 & Rotary Club of Caringbah (D9675)

Rural Medicine Scholarship Program

How would the Australian Rotary Rural Health Scholarship help with my studies at the Rural Clinical School?

First of all, it goes without saying that this scholarship would be an incredible help to me financially. Medical school is a huge commitment. Although I have always been employed casually during my holidays as well as tried to keep part time jobs during my university semesters, I have found that in order to do well with my studies I have had to prioritise university over keeping a part time job. This has meant that over the past five years my parents have had to support me financially. For many of my colleagues, this has not been an issue when they come from a family of doctors, lawyers, engineers and so forth. I come from a family of farmers and Dad sadly did not have the luxury of inheriting any land. Nevertheless he had the tenacity to put himself through university to become an agronomist. When he found that a single father on an agronomist’s income wasn’t going to be enough to support me and my sister, he had the initiative to buy a truck and set up his own bulk haulage business. Dad, and later on in life my beautiful primary school teacher for a step-mother, have always worked themselves into the ground to ensure I was able to go to uni and achieve my dream of becoming a doctor. Being awarded this scholarship would mean that they would not be as financially burdened by me, and that I would have a greater chance at completing my studies and earning my own income, so that I can give back to them in some small way.

Furthermore, just as writing this essay has already done, being awarded the scholarship and being able to participate in the local Rotary Club will provide greater opportunities for myself to reflect on why I am studying medicine and why it is so important to ensure that all Australians, whether in Sydney or Walcha, have access to good healthcare. Being more involved in the local community would undoubtedly give me greater insight into the health needs of locals, and push me to complete my studies so that I can start making a difference to rural Australian’s lives.

Current Progressive Report

What an amazing experience studying, working and living in Tamworth has been so far this year! I am so grateful for the experiences I have had while here in rural NSW, and am eternally grateful to the Rotary Club for awarding me with this scholarship, which has alleviated a significant portion of the financial burden that comes with studying medicine full time away from home. I have no doubt in my mind that the kindness and generosity I have experienced from the Rotary Club, and the wider rural community, will be remunerated in my medical career during the years to come.

I was welcomed to Tamworth by the choir of musicians performing at this years Country Music Festival. The town was alive with wide-brimmed hats and guitars. There was so much to see and do on the weekends. Highlights of mine were having a beer with Kasey Chambers at the Tamworth Hotel, and going to see Daryl Braithwaite live in all his glory. The festival shenanigans kept things interesting during the week too, especially for those of us working in the emergency

Working at Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital has been a great experience. It’s great facilities and dedicated staff have made for a great clinical experience, and also shown me how capable Australia’s regional healthcare can be. It’s also shown me what the unique challenges rural medicine can throw at you, such as organising dialysis appoints around when the cattle need to be fed. A truly inspiring experience for me was flying with the oncology team from Tamworth to Moree to consult with and provide treatment to cancer patients unable to travel.

It was these experiences that influenced the speech I gave to the Tamworth Rotary Sunrise breakfast meeting that was hosted at the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health. I spoke about what inspired me to come study rurally and how the experience had encouraged me to consider rural medicine. I talked about how although rural Australia needs more GPs, it also needs more specialised services. This is exemplified by oncologists from Tamworth Hospital flying to Moree, and so it is my desire to provide high quality surgical care to regional Australians. An inspiring example of how this is already being done is the “Heart of Australia”, a team of cardiology specialists travelling around rural QLD in a converted truck, providing specialistmedical investigation and treatment clinics.

During my time in Tamworth, I have already had the chance to provide healthcare in clinics outside the hospital to locals who may have difficulty accessing medical services. The first instance was when I volunteered to provide medical check-ups to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at the Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Services “Close the Gap” event. This was an awesome event which gave me the chance to hear more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and give something back to the community.

The other opportunity I had to do this at was Gunnedah’s annual AgQuip event, where the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health set up a health check clinic. Here we hassled stoic farmers into getting a free medical check-up and gave them free health advice – hopefully encouraging them to go see their local GP. This was an important service, especially during this time of drought when rural Australians’ mental, and consequently physical, health can suffer.

On the topic of the drought, I am also very proud to say that I recently won a bake sale for my New York Baked Cheesecake – the profits of which all went to the “R U Aware, We Care” campaign. My prize was a Women’s Country Association cookbook. My grandmother couldn’t be prouder.

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