Miranda Wallace
Miranda Wallace

Miranda Wallace

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2022

University of NSW, NSW

Doctor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2022

Sponsored by:

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?

Since pursuing Medicine, I have established a few objectives for myself which I will stay true to my career as a qualified medical practitioner. The first is that I will ensure to always dedicate part of my working career to bettering the quality of and access to health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This is of course influenced by the inequities my own family has faced and those of my Indigenous friends’ families as well. I continue to stay in touch with the health issues that exist in remote communities through my involvement with societies like the Rural Allied Health and Medical Society and the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association and I would like to extend this involvement to speak on issues and inspiring future Indigenous doctors.

Secondly, I would like to complete a rural placement in an Indigenous community. Not only would I gain valuable skills and experience due to the lack of health practitioners, I would have an opportunity to establish a strong relationship with the people of the community and work to re-gain their trust in the health system which has been degraded generation to generation. i understand that having a compassionate and understanding doctor in these communities is so incredibly important to creating better health outcomes of our people.

Further to a rural placement, I would like to practice back home in my regional area, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie or surrounding areas. It is really important to me that I go back to where I was raised and bring fresh knowledge and expertise wherever it is needed. Additionally, in every location worked I would gain valuable insight into the specific health needs of that community and adapt. I would think that my placements are studying in Sydney and then hopefully a rural location would prepare me well for this placement.

I have taken a specific interest in Obstetrics which may change during the course of my study as I am not limiting myself , however, I am very interested in having a had in facilitation the practice of ‘birthing in country’ which allows Indigenous women to have their babies on land where they feel comfortable and around their loved ones.

I would like to work in rural and regional areas where I can create good relationships and connection with the patients in that community and hopefully inspire the youth in those areas to also give back.

Current Progressive Report

My second semester of Medicine testing but also very enjoyable. The courses covered during this period looked at the heart and brain systems. I found both areas to be complex and deeply interesting. My favourite part was learning about the associated pathologies such as infective endocarditis of the heart, and dementia of the brain.

As I progressed through my first year of Medicine, I began to find ways of studying that were more beneficial and tailored to my style of learning. This involved some more self-directed learning such as watching YouTube videos about difficult concepts I encountered. Something else I tried was studying the whole-body system (ie. Reproductive system, heart or brain) on a macroscopic level to understand what its role and functions are in the body, rather than only studying it in parts. This method worked for me as I was able to piece information together and make sense of why things happen, not just that they do. I found an increased in my results when I began this method. As for my assignments, being my strength, getting good marks in those allows me to spend more time studying for my exams which is nice.

This year has been prosperous for me on a personal level. After attending the Go Rural trip with Rural Doctors Network in March, I was inspired to apply for another one of the programs they run called Bush Bursary. After a lengthy application process, I was accepted. On the 23rd of January 2023, I and another second-year Medical student from the University of Notre Dame drove from Sydney to my town of birth, Deniliquin, to undertake our placement. We spent time shadowing general practitioners in town, seeing patients at the hospital emergency department, theatres and maternity, and even spent time at the vet! This experience was incredible. It not only allowed me to apply my knowledge, but I also was able to practice my communication with patients and see the complexity of health issues in a rural town. Some of the highlights from this trip were witnessing my first birth, practising my first cannulation, assisting in injections, dressing wounds and resetting a broken hand. This trip consolidated my love for Medicine and the enjoyment I get out of interacting with people.

I am looking forward to seeing what 2023 has in store for me. The Rotary scholarship has alleviated a lot of the financial stress which comes with studying Medicine full-time. I am truly honoured to be a recipient of this scholarship and look forward to checking in again soon!

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