Happy Doctor’s Day to doctors across our country, but especially to those who work at Northeast Health Wangaratta and in our local community. We profiled three NHW doctors to share with you some insights into this life-saving profession.
Dr Jane Wijaya – Medical Intern
I’m currently a medical intern (a baby doctor!) at NHW. This is my first year as a doctor. I’m finishing up my term in the Emergency Department, and for the past 10 weeks as a newly minted doctor, I have been seeing patients and managing patients that come through the Department, under the supervision of my seniors. I serve any patient that comes through the door, whatever they presented with, from back pain to lacerations, an infected toenail to cellulitis, with patients ranging from only a few months old up to those who are almost a century old!
What made you want to become a doctor? This might sound cliché, but I first wanted to be a paediatrician (a kids’ doctor) when I was in primary 6 after I did a school project on HIV/AIDS and read about its impact on children with the condition. As I grow up, I stayed strong working towards my dream, and the journey only strengthened my conviction to become a doctor, although 15 years later, my reason has now changed – or rather, I should say, I have now more reasons to become a skilled and compassionate kids’ doctor as I believe every child deserves a smile on their face. I now aspire to work in neonatology, working with mainly premature babies and their families, as well as in forensic paediatrics, combating child abuse and neglect (and it might still change!).
What’s the toughest part of your job? Despite not wanting to admit it, most people in medicine have type A personality – which means they are highly ambitious and usually do not leave room for mistakes. But we are humans, and no one is or will ever be perfect, so we do make mistakes along the way. I think forgiving myself after I made a mistake, no matter how small it is and with very minimal negative impact on a patient’s care, is the hardest part of my job.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction? It’s the simple genuine “thank you” from my patients – definitely melts my heart!
How do you help deliver safe and quality care at NHW? As a freshly graduated doctor, I run everything pass my seniors to make sure that they are aware of and approve my management plan, in order to provide optimal care for our patients.
What’s great about working in a regional health service? As a regional health service has a larger catchment area compared to a metropolitan health service, I see a wider range of presentations compared to my metropolitan peers, which means I have a lot more resources to learn from. There are also less doctors in a regional health service compared to a metropolitan health service, and it just feels like we’re one big family here, without much attention paid to hierarchy/ seniority.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be/is training to be a doctor? Make sure you know what you’re getting into! Becoming a doctor is almost a lifetime commitment. If you’re sure becoming a doctor is what you want, then don’t give up! There are points in your journey where you might feel like it’s not going according to your plan, but you’ll get there, and all those “detours” will only make you grow into a better doctor.
Dr Zac Rundell-Gordon – Critical Care SRMO
I am currently one of the critical care SRMOs and am positioned in the Emergency department for the next few months. In my role I assess patient needs, organise blood tests and images and then refer patients to the appropriate teams.
What made you want to become a doctor? I’ve always loved biology, as well as problem solving/puzzles, and I thought medicine was a good combination of the two. Also being able to help people is always a bonus.
What’s the toughest part of your job? The toughest part of the job is probably the shift-work and time outside of work that needs to be set aside for ongoing learning/training. That and delivering bad news to patients.
What gives you greatest satisfaction about being a doctor? What gives me the greatest satisfaction as a doctor is finding the right diagnosis for the patient’s presentation.
How do you help deliver safe and quality care at NHW? I feel I contribute to safe and quality care at NHW by maintaining frequent and clear communication with other staff and the patients that I see
What’s great about working in a regional health service? What’s great about working in a regional health service is getting to know the majority of people you work with, which isn’t as easy in some of the larger metropolitan hospitals. I also like the sense of being a valuable part in the community, and seeing people that you you have seen in hospital out in the community doing well.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be/is training to be a doctor? The advice that I would give would be to make sure you have a good work-life balance in order to help prevent burn-out, and to not be afraid of making mistakes as they are a part of life.
Dr James La Spina – Paediatric Resident
I’m a Paediatric Resident I support the paediatric team by sorting out jobs and tasks that pop up during the day and learn from the registrars. I try to ensure everyone has a laugh and gets their coffee!
What made you want to become a doctor? I want to be able to help people take control of and responsibility for their health, and support them through that journey
What’s the toughest part of your job? Finding time for my coffee addiction, which may or may not be a side effect of my job
What gives you greatest satisfaction about being a doctor? Working with patients and the brilliant hospital staff to achieve great outcomes and have fun along the way
How do you help deliver safe and quality care at NHW? By listening to nursing staff
What’s great about working in a regional health service? Knowing and becoming friends with lots of the hospital staff, having the opportunity to be more independent but supported, and getting out on weekends (or after work) for a fish more easily
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be/is training to be a doctor? Go for it, and go rural! You’ll see more, do more and learn more, and you can wear R.M. Williams to work without looking silly…
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