Veronica Dolman
Veronica Dolman

Veronica Dolman

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2022

University of Western Australia, Perth WA

Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery
Scholarship Awarded 2012

Sponsored by:
Rotary Club of Mundaring

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

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

I have aspirations to improve Aboriginal health as an active contributor, specifically to work together with Aboriginal communities and to facilitate ways of working with existing and creating new partnerships. I aim to be instrumental in developing community specific models that incorporate the joint healing process of the particular community, through inclusivity of the community and key stakeholders. I plan to incorporate the Social Determinate of Aboriginal Health and work within the framework of the Bio psycho-social medical model.

I am confident in my ability to work with and co-ordinate government and non-government bodies toward a common goal, whilst also working in a culturally safe framework. I always work within a culturally secure frame, always consider and implement community needs and incorporating existing government and not governmental legislated process.

I have been working in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health for over 15 years. I began actively participating in health promotion, as a teaching assistant at an Aboriginal school in my community of Alice Spring; English was the second language. As a teaching assistant and in collaboration with community members, education and health service providers, I was able to play a lead role in implementing a well-received health and hygiene program for the female students, most of whom came from surrounding town camps.

After my passion in Aboriginal Health was ignited through my previous position as a teaching assistant I successfully completed an Advanced Certificate in Aboriginal Health at Marr Mooditj Foundation in Perth. With my certificate in ACAH I was warded a position at the local Aboriginal Medical service now known as Derbal Yerrigan. As an employee of the Aboriginal Medical Service I was exposed to the enormity of the inequities that exist in Aboriginal communities, influencing my decision to gain more skills to benefit the community and myself. I enrolled in and successfully completed a Bachelor of Nursing at Curtin University. On completion of my degree I worked as a Registerd Clinical and Mental Health Nurse in major public hospitals.

Through my acquired experience as a nurse and with further knowledge of the disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people I made a shift towards health education. One of my initial roles in health education was to train Aboriginal enrolled nurses. With each qualification and working experience I have gained I have been able to work in different levels and within different areas of the Australian Health care system, and within the private sector.

To undertake a Bachelor of Medicine was a natural progression for me to position myself to assist my community in a clinically medical coapacisty and community advocatory role.

Current Progressive Report

Clinical Rotation in Oncology, placement number three was where I was up to in my last report. It was a very humbling experience in Oncology; a privilege to share in the experience of families who are willing to assist in my education by sharing very emotional, private, and vulnerable experiences in their lives. They are caring for their loved one, or family member who is dying. Some incredibly sad moments were experienced here.

Anaesthetics was an interesting placement. It is amazing how drugs have progressed over time and what is now possible to achieve in pain relief and to maintain an unconscious patient during surgery. All the checks and balances individuals undergo before during and after surgery is so particularly important. Some patients get annoyed with all the repetitions saying ‘someone already asked me that‘  – but all the checks are necessary.

The Medical Specialty Dermatology patient clinics were also included in the program. Dermatology has always interested me; I enjoy the challenge of learning to pronounce long complicated names of some dermatological conditions; Eg: Hidradenitis suppurativa (hi-drad-uh-NIE-tis sup-yoo-ruh-TIE-vuh).

The next rotation took place in a large metropolitan tertiary hospital, where ward-based learning was one of the bonuses. The medical speciality being Internal Medicine. The placement took place over five weeks…  Reality of balancing work commitments with family obligations and cultural responsibilities.

In the area of Surgery – Plastics the speciality was head and neck surgery. I was given the opportunity to participate in supervised surgical procedures.  This was interesting and it was great to learn from skilled clinicians. Cultural obligations came to the forefront again during this year.

My final clinical placement was the selective: Older Adult Mental Health. This is a very satisfying medicine. I enjoy working with the older cohort of patients from a myriad of diverse cultures. Dementia psychosis and many other mental health conditions affect patients from all levels of society and ethnic backgrounds. Older Adult Medicine is a branch of medicine I would like to include in my future medical practice.

In finishing medicine, we have three exams and a combined multidisciplinary unit: Transition to Internship.    Thank you Rotary for your financial support on my journey to complete medicine.

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