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Junior Doctor Blog

  • Faces of Peninsula Health – Q&A with Dr Jennifer Ngan

    Dr Jennifer Ngan is a medical intern at Peninsula Health.

    Q: What is your background?

    A: I studied a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne prior to going into a Bachelor Medicine and Surgery at Deakin University. I completed my clinical medical years in rural south-west Victoria at Hamilton and Warrnambool. I hope to bring the experiences I have gained from those hospitals to Peninsula Health and continue to grow and develop as a junior doctor.

    Q: What does your current role involve?

    A: I am currently on my General Medicine Rotation and so I look after patients with acute medical problems, ranging from heart and lung issues to general symptoms of unwellness for investigation. My role is quite varied involving; Assisting during ward rounds, charting medications, ordering investigations and liaising with other hospital team members in order to provide holistic and patient-centred care. Importantly, I ...

  • 10 Tips and Tricks from an Intern year

    By Dr Sophie Kinnear, 2018 Medical Intern at Peninsula Health.  Dr Kinnear is the recipient of the 2018 Intern Colleague’s Choice Award. For this award, interns and other colleagues vote for who they believe has been the most exceptional intern throughout the year. Dr Kinnear shares some of her key learnings and highlights of the past year.

    This year has been so wonderful, it's difficult to sum up, but my overwhelming experience has been one of learning – learning the responsibility of being a doctor; the names of the people I work with; drug doses; fax numbers; coffee orders; which stairwells to use and which will leave you locked inside; how to approach patients and their families; how to wheel a large computer down a hallway without crashing into multiple obstacles (still a work in progress); how to squeeze in meals, drinks and toilet breaks; how ...

  • Treating the person, not the illness

    The below blog is written by Dr Matthew Jakab, a Hospital Medical Officer in the Palliative Care Unit at Peninsula Health.

    As doctors we must ask ourselves, what is the point of medicine? We could give a trite answer of “to heal people”, yet that in itself seems quite superficial. Perhaps the better question is, why should we care about the sick? It’s a question that seems antithetical to the mind of a doctor. But we know that for Victoria alone, the health budget is $4.2 billion, of which most is spent on the sickest people [1].  There are limited resources but seemingly limitless areas to spend it on. Could it not be spent on improving the prosperity of already productive individuals?

    In Inuit culture, when someone got old or sick, they would leave them out in the icy cold to die [2]. It was necessary ...

  • When the student becomes the teacher

    ‘The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.’ – Malcolm Forbes

    The following blog is written by Dr Anusha Jayasekera

    From day one of medical school, it is drummed into us that we have entered a lifelong profession of learning. This means that from the very beginning we are primed to be excellent students, with little thought given to the fact that we will one day also become the teachers.

    Teaching is a skill that is expected in the clinical environment, but not actively taught to young health professionals. It is largely assumed that we will just ‘pick it up’ along the way. However, like IV cannulation or a respiratory examination, clinical teaching is something that requires deliberate practice

    My first rotation was in Aged Psychiatry, and as the only intern on the ward it was a very steep learning curve. I was (and ...

  • From student to surgical intern – a world of change

    The following blog is written by Dr Giselle Dela Cruz, a medical intern at Peninsula Health. 

    Medicine is a world of change. Headlines are born from the research that comes out of health professionals' careers and every consultant has a story about how medicine was taught in their day. As health professionals, we live in this constant movement and it is our responsibility to manage it. On a more local level, our work depends on acknowledging the differences in all stages of life and how new goals can change our care. Teams work to smooth the transition from primary care to hospitals, from hospitals to subacute, from all levels of care to places patients can call home. We do all of this while reconciling the changes that occur in our professional and personal lives.

    As a junior doctor, I have felt this first hand – from the initial ...

  • The Art of Cannulation

    The following blog is written by Dr Kate van Berkel, a medical intern at Peninsula Health.

    "So how long have you been a doctor for?” Andy* asks, as I re-wash my hands and prepare to don a new set of sterile gloves. He needs a drip inserted so that he can have a CT scan, and so far I have tried to insert it twice with no success.

    “About 2 months,” I say. “I’m freshly minted.”

    My answer to this frequently asked question always feels unsatisfactory. Especially when the patient enquiring is watching me struggle with their procedure.

    “I bet it feels like longer, though!” he jokes. He’s right.

    The two months I’ve spent working as a doctor have felt incredibly long and incredibly short at the same time. I have often felt out of my depth, stressed, and overwhelmed. Sometimes what may seem like simple, every day requests will ...

  • The sacrifices and rewards of becoming a doctor

    The below blog post is written by Dr Rachel Chan, a Hospital Medical Officer at Peninsula Health.

    As the intern year wound to an end, this blog post ‘10 things you need to give up to become a doctor’ caught my attention. I had been ruminating on much the same things as I commuted to and from Warragul for my country rotation. The idea of what we have to give up in becoming a doctor used to feel so distant in medical school. However, now that we have just achieved general registration, some of the realities of our new career have set in. In particular, the fact that many of us will have worked a majority of public holidays last year, thus missing out on quality time with friends and family.

    Personally, the hardest part was accepting that part and parcel of this job entails not ...

  • Moving to the country

    The following blog is written by Dr Christie Bryant, a medical intern at Peninsula Health. 

    Usually, the most noticeable thing about Mr Hope* is his long white Santa-esque beard. Today however, it is the steady trickle of blood from his left leg down into his shoe. I start our conversation the way I always do – “Hi Bill, my name’s Chris and I’ll be your doctor”. He mumbles a reply and we head into the consulting room.

    Up on the bed, I clean his wound and get all the suturing gear together. I tell him it’s my first day down here and wonder if he thinks I’m just one of the many blow-in doctors that come and go all year round to a rural town like Wonthaggi.

    In the days leading up to my first rural rotation in Wonthaggi I was feeling pretty nervous. Each rotation, around 6 interns ...

  • A better death

    This blog is written by Dr Harmeen Kaur, a medical intern at Peninsula Health.

    I don’t have any answers for you today; all I have are questions.  Questions about what it means to die in a hospital and whether we, as medical professionals, can do anything differently. 

    I used to have such a romanticised notion of death – to be in your own bed at peace with the world, surrounded by friends and family, all affairs in order. That is what they show on television, right? (unless you’re a Game of Thrones fan!).    

    I’m no longer this naïve. Now I know that end-of-life can be very different for different people and for most it happens suddenly: one day you are well and the next day someone is telling you or your family that their time is up.

    Today I am going to tell you (briefly, I promise!) a story. ...

  • “I’m probably meeting you on one of the worst days of your life” – what it’s like to work as a junior doctor in the Emergency Department

    This blog is written by Dr. Dan Bronsema, a medical intern at Peninsula Health.

    It’s 10pm on a Friday night. I’m nearing the end of my first evening shift. I pick up my next patient – an older lady who’s had a fall at home, knocking her head on the dresser. Her daughters are interstate for the upcoming weekend and she’s home alone. She’s very distressed and speaks in broken English. There is a bleeding cut above her forehead. She has a throbbing headache, sore shoulder and she’s on a blood thinning medication. Before I meet her she’s already had a CT scan of her head and some bloods taken. I scan her previous medical history and notice that this is her first presentation to emergency. She’s understandably anxious. I introduce myself - “Hi, my name is Daniel, and I’ll be the emergency doctor looking after ...