Rural Medical Scholarship 2022
Australian National University
Cooma Rural Clinical School
Scholarship Awarded 2022
Late PDG Joe Scorer Scholarship
How would the Australian Rotary Rural Health Scholarship help with my studies at the Rural Clinical School?
I began my medical degree in 2020 when I moved from Western Australia to Canberra, leaving behind my family, friends and support network to pursue my career. I grew up in rural WA and have many fond memories. I also have sad memories of my family travelling 3 hours to Perth to access health care when my brother was diagnosed with epilepsy. This is something that has stuck with me and has influenced by decision to practice in a rural area when I graduate. I currently live in Goulburn and am relocating to Cooma next year to complete my third year of studies. I have enjoyed living in Goulburn so much and have built a support network of work colleagues and friends which I was severely lacking in Canberra.
I have been working 2 days per week while living in Goulburn to support myself. Having access to the Australian Rotary Health Scholarship will afford me the opportunity to focus on my studies and also allow me to be more actively involved in the community. Previous to studying, I was actively involved in several volunteer roles including delivering library books to elderly people each month and supervising a basketball program for at risk youth. I enjoy volunteering and found it a rewarding experience and allowed me to meet like-minded people and give back to the community. In Goulburn I have not had much opportunity to volunteer due to work and studies but I have been able to garden at my local Catholic church where I organised a working bee. I have also had an opportunity to provide assistance to elderly people with their phone and online technology which has become increasingly required with the lockdowns, check-in and proof of vaccination requirements.
I have also begun a 6-week Clinical Pastoral Education Introductory program in November and I am looking forward to bringing the skills I learn during this program with me to Cooma as it was highlighted that volunteers were needed in the Cooma area. I began this course as I believe it will strengthen my ability to provide patient centred care, allow me to meet like-minded individuals in the community and also strengthen my leadership and advocacy skills. Advocacy and leadership are key features of being a doctor and something that I am particularly passionate about. Whilst researching the scholarship and Rotary International I have found the work that the clubs do quite inspiring and the Four Way Test to align with my own personal beliefs. Whilst I am not currently a Rotary member I look forward to attending club events and learning more about what Rotary does within the community for the betterment of all people who call Cooma home.
Current Progressive Report
I moved to Cooma, NSW in January 2022 with 2 other students from ANU to spend the year here learning clinical skills. This is my third year studying medicine and due to COVID, the first year we had interactions with patients. I was very excited to move here, get to know the local area, especially go to the snow as I had never before seen snow having grown up in Western Australia.
What I learnt was so much more than just clinical skills! I learnt what it was to be a doctor in a small town, how everyone knows you and you bump into patients in the least likely of places! How patients coming into the hospital are sometimes your patient in the GP as well and you know their family and their story. Many of the medical staff are on first name basis with their patients and are ready with advice on gardening, curing meats, where the best ski slopes are and everything in between! We were called on to babysit, walk dogs, house sit and an abundance of dinners, lunches and coffees. We were welcomed into the community and made to feel like a we belonged. The patients have been so supportive, letting us practice our skills on them – sometimes for the first time! They have encouraged and supported us to learn and come back to a rural town like Cooma when we finish. The support I have received from the community, not just the medical community, has been surreal.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Cooma, being a part of the community. I have introduced our short term students to the staff and everything that Cooma has to offer. From the walking tracks and mountain biking, to the snow fields, the surrounding towns with their many markets and events to the delicious food choice available on the Snowy Monaro. I have had some amazing opportunities to grow my clinical skills, work closely with all medical staff and manage patients along side doctors. This has been an invaluable experience for my learning and my personal growth. I have learnt how to take a thorough history and assessment of a patient, I have grown my critical thinking skills and able to synthesis my knowledge and most importantly how to ask for help. I have also learnt that skiing is not for me but there is so much more fun to be had in the snow! The locals have imparted their wisdom to me from dandelion juice recipes to how to set up a greenhouse to protect your plants from the frost to the best place to get wood fire pizza. Everyone I have had the opportunity to work with has been wonderful and gladly shared their knowledge and experience, in many areas of life.
I have thoroughly enjoyed living in Cooma and the opportunity and experiences I have had here. I am infinitely grateful for this opportunity and am sad that the year is rapidly coming to an end. I will be sad to leave and hope to be able to return next year for placement and maybe even in the future!