pulsepulsepu contents Presenting your HMSA
Interview with Dr. William Crozier
Reliving the Physical
Hung- A Survival Guide
Medicine; A Dying Career?
Drugs in Australian Sport
The Perils of Getting High
Beyond Bond- A Graduateâ€™s Experience
from the editor
lsepulsepulse Q&A: The Presidential Edition
In a rare, candid interview with Vice-President and close friend Alexander Hargrave, HMSA President Jake Bennetto opens up about life, love and his plans for the future.
Weâ€™d like to wish everyone
H. M. -
Jake Bennetto- El Presidente
Alex Hargrave- V(I)P
Niamh Ramsay- Moneybags
Mariette Morris- Scribe
Ashwin Agnihotri- Reppin’ da Georgie Heddle- The IT GuyMed
Daisy Swindon- Steamy (Aca- Greg Hall- Party Pants demic) Affairs
(again!) Georgia Hick- Publicay-cays
Jesse Green- Reppin’ da Sciences
Steph Rockett- The Corporation
2nd March 2013, QT Hotel
The annual Medical Students Charity Ball is a highly anticipated event that is usually the highlight of any medical student’s calendar. This year’s Winter Wonderland themed extravaganza was certainly no exception. Held on March the 2nd at the stylish QT hotel in Surfer’s Paradise, it was a night of elegance and entertainment. The evening kicked off with an amazing performance by live band The Maddi Rose group, who had come fresh from their tour of the USA. Following a delicious dinner and a decadent dessert, guests danced long into the night to the sweet sounds of We Are DJs. Many guests left with Polaroids from the photo booth and, for those lucky enough, prizes from the raffle draw. Most importantly, the Medical Students Ball Committee was able to raise over $5000 for their chosen charity. This year, the ball was in support of Bond-Aid, a home grown charity made up of Bond students who volunteered over the Christmas holidays in schools, orphanages and hospitals in the Kandy region of Sri Lanka. The funds raised will go towards building the region’s first cancer ward at the local hospital. The Medical Students Ball Committee Executive would like to thank their platinum sponsor MSSBU, Bond-Aid, members of the Ball Committee and all those who attended in support of a great cause. Words: Angela Nallimelli
Five Minutes With... INTERVIEW
DR. WILLIAM CROZIER pulse interview with Dr William Crozier
MB. BS., FRCA
P: Where did you study medicine? DC: Guy’s Hospital, London. P: What would you have done/studied if you hadn’t studied medicine? DC: I would’ve done an art course. Or possibly architecture. P: How does working in Australia compare to working in the UK? DC: Having trained and then spent 12 years working in the NHS, I was completely disillusioned by the bureaucracy of the public system there. I had spent two years working the USA, as well as locums in Europe, and was fully aware of the alternative health systems. Most Australian doctors I had come across had suggested that I would enjoy working in Australia, and that has turned out to the case. P: What do you like to do on a day off? DC: I like to spend the day outside, especially in the yard at our house up in Maleny. I like to go for a run, and surf the net for good music. P: Did you always want to be an anaesthetist? DC: No. I always wanted to be a doctor, and then while I was training I enjoyed every specialty I saw. After graduation, I worked in A&E, cardiology, and was even a ship’s doctor in the Arctic. However, I was impressed by how much my friends, who had started working in anaesthetics, were enjoying themselves, and I followed suit. P: What’s a typical day like for you? DC: I get to work early to have a coffee and to set-up (checking the machine, getting the drugs for the patient, and then see the first couple of cases for the day). The day will generally be a mixture of interesting cases, both long and short. There’s no such thing as a typical day: over a four-week cycle, I work with a dozen different surgeons. P: What would you say you are an expert on in your field? DC: Over the years, I’ve become an expert in major laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery, so a large proportion of my work is upper GI (gastro-intestinal) surgery for oesophagectomy, hiatus hernia, fundoplication, and hepatectomy, as well as VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) for pulmonary resection and mediastinal surgery. P: Can you pinpoint a specific highlight of your career? DC: I’ve met many interesting characters over the years, but one or two well-known patients stand out. Besides the famous people, there are many individuals who display immense bravery, in spite of their ailments, who impress you with their character and fortitude. P: Where has your job taken you? DC: Everywhere. I’ve worked as an anaesthetist in the UK, USA, Sweden, Holland, and Australia. I have, with Interplast (international plastic surgery charity), been on working trips to Tonga, Sri Lanka and Vietnam (twice). I’ve also developed an interest in high altitude medicine and physiology, and this has been useful on my treks in Nepal, Tibet, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Borneo. P: What’s your take on the internship crisis? How do you see it being resolved, if at all? DC: My take is that this is just typical of a health service run by bureaucracy, and it reminds me very much of the NHS (British health service). Nevertheless, we produce well-educated, young doctors, who are motivated to pursue their careers, and ultimately, they will find positions, as positions will evolve over a very short period, because the need for quality doctors is there. P: What advice do you have for the modern medical student? DC: To maintain their interest in medicine, and all aspects of it. Some people enter it because of science, some because of the humanities side of it. Nevertheless, they should understand that there will always be a need for their skills, and medicine, in all its aspects, is a very rewarding profession.
the PHYSICAL! -
Greggy Smalls 8
The hangover itself is actually thought to be caused by a combination of the toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism (acetaldehyde), dehydration and a depletion of vitamins A, B and C caused by the action of alcohol itself on your system. Alcohol itself is a depressant, and a hangover itself is due to an overdose of such and the reaction of your nerves accordingly. Over the course of the night you also will have flushed your body of a significant quantity of vitamins and nutrients, resulting in a metabolic shock that your body struggles to compensate against. Now we can all imagine the scene; muggy warm temperature with a dense smell of stale alcohol. It’s not pretty. Pop a mint (and maybe a spritz of deodorant) and try some of the following:
Berocca - Puts the vitamin B back in, as well as the big glass of water it’s mixed with. It’s probably best to do this before you go out. Aspirin - Simply attends to the headache and does nothing for the level of alcohol in your system. Don’t take them before you go to bed. Coffee - Same as Coke but without the bubbles to help ease the nausea. Try it with honey instead of sugar since the fructose is absorbed quicker than the sucrose in normal sugar, and it’s better for you. Coke - Fizz for the nausea, liquid for the dehydration, and a caffeine and sugar hit to make you feel a bit more lively Ginseng - It’s been noted that since caffeine is a diuretic like alcohol, it can actually make the dehydration worse, so try the herbal equivalent instead. Vegemite On Toast - Something in your stomach is good, and salty is even better. Plus you get a Vitamin B top up. The same reasons also makes peanut butter a good choice, but the oily nature might make some sensitive stomachs feel a bit yucky. If you do try this one, skip the butter and just have dry toast. Bananas - Sugar in the form of fructose, and potassium, which is one of the things you lose lots of when you drink. Bananas are also a natural antacid to help with the nausea, and are high in magnesium which can help relax those pounding blood vessels causing that hangover headache. Vitamin C - Another thing the alcohol takes out that you’re advised to put back in as soon as possible. Orange juice, tomato, a 600mg Vitamin C tablet - doesn’t matter, just do it. A Hot Bath - The heat will sweat out the toxins that are causing all the problems. You’ll feel a bit woozy at first but go with it and you’ll feel better afterwards.
The dreaded wake up from a night at Don’s will leave any university student proclaiming the clichéd, “I’m never drinking again...” but frankly we all know what that means. As HSM students, you’d like to think that perhaps we have an edge over the others at getting rid of that small gremlin clawing its way through your skull… or at least maybe after reading this article.
STEPH by ROCKETT
pLacE mEnt(or) Fourth year Medical Student James Coldham shares his experiences of medical placement, hospital politics and interesting patients, and offers his wealth of valuable advice to students commencing placement in the future.
lacement is as tiring as a burrito is filling. This year I started what every pre-clinical medical student wets themselves over, my clinical years. These two years consist of inserting central lines, impressing consultants, running to code blues, being extremely appreciated by patients, defib’ing people, and just generally saving lives. My first rotation however saw me
transform from just your average, or below average if you’re talking about my grades, university student into an old man. This transformation saw me iron my shirts, turn my Blocks room into a hermitage, look forward to nana nap’s, get fatter and just being generally cranky. That said I thoroughly enjoyed my first rotation and wish I was able to spend another few weeks on “my ward”.
My days were pretty repetitive and consisted of a handover in the morning followed by ward round, sitting around awkwardly, taking blood or cannulising, lunch, taking a history, performing a physical exam, presenting to the resident or registrar followed by home time and a nap before dinner. While being a medicine student whose learning was primarily done through osmosis, on the ward, I feel I learnt more things about being a doctor (in my mind at least there is a difference between the two). The major thing I learnt about being a doctor was the political shit-storm you face when trying to practice medicine. There were several patients over the course of my 2-month rotation that ended up on our ward despite not being the most suitable place for their care. This was due to ego and financial driven standoffs between hospitals and specialties. In the end they ended up on our ward, whether it was because my consultant was the most caring or because when the music stopped we were the last ones standing I don’t know. I think the political side of practicing medicine was especially highlighted due to the recent cuts in health care, and when you consider that it costs $1000 a night for a patient to remain on our ward we felt hard done by when patients required stays of 150+ days. I also learnt that studying medicine at university was only part of what seems like a never-ending journey consisting of written and oral exams, fulfilling certain requirements, and endless amounts of studying. This realisation was both disturbing and… disturbing I guess. From what I uncovered when talking to the various people I interacted with was the progression of a medical student to doctor goes something like this: Medical Student > Resident/ Intern > Junior Medical Officer > Senior Medical Officer
for a couple of years > Sit some interviews/ exams > Get into a Specialty College (Physician College in this case) if you’re good enough > Spend a 3-4 years fulfilling requirements > Sit an exam with a 70-80% fail rate > Pass and become and advanced trainee > Spend another few years doing that > Pass another exam then you’re finally qualified. 15 years later WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! The reason I went into medicine was the interaction with patients and over the rotation I discovered my favourite type of patient… the elderly. Every elderly patient we encountered was colourful, from the accidental racism to the totally unreasonable expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their stories and watching their interactions with the doctors and nurses around us. My favourite two moments were a patient asking the intern why she personally changed the name of her country from Ceylon to Sri Lanka (this occurred in 1972 and she would have been 25) and a second patient who called all the people in her room different apart from the two Caucasians who were “normal”. All the patients presented their own different challenges both medically and personally. It was also interesting learning to deal with patients, who presented their own difficulties. Anyway I thought I would end with a few tips for future med students and pre-clinical students. So my first tip is to take a book into any meeting so if you nod off it looks as though you’re studying the Oxford Clinical Handbook intensely, enjoy the structure and freedom of pre-clinical years, all those things that are difficult to learn are worth knowing, study in semester 8, having a good understanding of basic physiology will help you immensely, help the intern/registrar and they’ll help you, and most of all have as much fun as possible before you start to feel you’ve aged 40 years.
“Placement is as tiring as a burrito is filling...”
LYON The City of Light
an exchange experience
by rupert holden
Lyon is often referred to as ‘the city of light’, and it was easy to see why within my first day of arriving in France. Even in the middle of a particularly harsh and snow-filled winter, the city was ablaze. From the icy banks of Lyon’s two central rivers, the mammoth Fourvière Hill that overlooks the city was bathed in light, as was the resplendent white basilica at its peak. This incandescence was replicated in the streets; where the Christmas markets breathed their last for the season, and small-time crepe and hot wine vendors rubbed their hands together for warmth in between serving customers.
Lyon in particular is immersed in history, and was formally the ancient Roman capital of Lugdunum. The lasting architectural legacy of the Romans is awe-inspiring. It’s hard not to feel a little humbled when I pay my weekly visit to the fantastically preserved roman amphitheater, and think how strange it is that an Aussie could be standing at center of one of Europe’s most central historical sites.
But really, I was in Lyon to do more than just soak up the history. For three months I enjoyed on the exchange program with the University Catholique De Lyon. The classes are long, and grueThere is an undeniably romantic resonance ling, however, the progress you make afin France that Lyon captures perfectly as a ter spending four hours a day in French cultural hub, and the gastronomic capital classes was also incredibly rewarding. of the world. France’s proud attachment to tradition, and the raw appeal of the French mode de vie gives the impression of an older France that is capable of coexisting with a dynamic culture and global focus of contemporary French people.
The only really devastating moment I had in Lyon was when I first crossed the threshold of my home-to-be for the next five months. With a melancholy sense of resignation, I sat on my military-style foldup bed which was situated in the kitchen, and surveyed the dried remnants of the violently exploded bolognaise sauce that the previous owner had lovingly left on the wall. There was a rancid smell that seemed to be emanating from either the bathroom or the sink, and the fact that I had to scrape voluminous quantities of mold from the shower floor seemed to confirm the stereotype that the French are none too fond of washing! I’ve since come to know that horror stories like these are fairly common in French student residences. The silver lining was that the ugliness of my room was a good incentive for me to spend as little time in it as possible, and throw myself into outside world of one of France’s most beautiful cities. Really, the French are very private people, and it was difficult to make good francophone friends within the first two months considering I was far from fluent. That’s not to say it was impossible; however it requires a lot of effort and cultural integration on the stranger’s part. The situation is best summed up by my now-friend Guillame who once told me (roughly trans-
lated) that “only those who love the French language and our culture will always be welcomed, and pardoned for their errors when speaking.”
tured barbarian! The desserts, bread and cheeses are sublime, and the wholesome and natural feel of the local weekly markets gives the French culinary tradition a distinct alThe idea of complete cultural lure for those who, like me, are immersion is pretty foreign, used to Coles and Woolworths. but it’s also wonderful, and a real test of character. You It has taken a lot of pluck to learn quickly to become an throw myself into a culture espresso-sipping, wine-guz- where I knew virtually no one, zling, cheese-consuming pseu- and began with a very scant do-Frenchman. The basic im- knowledge of the language. pression I’ve received is that However, it is commonly said the French aren’t ever going in France that, “le ridicule ne to change their habits for you; tue pas’ -ridicule doesn’t kill however, they are going to be you. Since arriving I’ve adincredibly hospitable and con- hered to this maxim, and have genial to those who make the always been willing to be exeffort to meet them halfway. traverted, and put myself out Since then, I’ve been reading of my comfort zone by engagFrench newspapers and novels, ing with people in a language attending political rallies for Le that is still relatively new to Parti Socialiste, playing soccer me. However, my experience on with local supporters of Olym- exchange has been overwhelmpique Lyonnais, and have had a ingly positive, and I’m incredisocial schedule fit to burst out bly grateful for the friendships at cafés, bars and restaurants. and the language skills I’ve gained since arriving in France. It would be remiss of me to go through this article without It’s something I would recmentioning a few of my gastro- ommend for Bond students nomic experiences in a city that regardless of the amount of prides itself on cooking like no time you have spent at the other. Since arriving, I’ve been university. As the French noveating my way around the city; elist Marcel Proust says, “the trying beef trotters, frogs legs, real voyage of discovery conhorse steak, pig liver, chick- sists not in seeking new landen kidney, beef tongue pâtes, scapes, but in having new eyes.” and all of those other French specialties that are enough to turn the stomachs of many. The key is to be adventurous, and never admit that you don’t like something lest you be looked down upon as an uncul-
Medicine is one of the most ancient careers, dating back to prehistoric times, before the marked invention of writing, where treatments would consist of herbal flowers and plants. Society has always perceived their doctors as knowledgeable individuals who live a financially comfortable life as a pay-off for their hard work. Nowadays however learning all the academic content and passing exams is not the only stress a medical student faces.
As such the importing of overseas doctors continued its course – leaving us in the present where the number of future doctors exceeds the sustainable number of positions.
Obviously many students have strong opinions on the matter. “I’m studying a 5 year degree so that I can grab an internship and start a career. What’s the point if internships aren’t available?” – 3rd year Bond MBBS student Leigh McKenzie had to say. She further added, “It should be the responsibilities of the What’s the Universities to work collectively. They need to ensure that their respective intakes match the prospective positions.” While there are students highly stressed if about the matter, others are taking a internships passive approach. Omar Yousif ’s just wishes “[his] year of graduates ends up going through and only the year below gets screwed over. If my year of graduation is at risk, YOLO!”
Last year quite a bit of panic was spread throughout Australian Medical Schools as the media reported not every medical graduate in the country was able to secure an internship. Represents from the Australian Medical Council (AMC) confirmed that due to the priority system – the students to miss out on an internship were international students. However analytical reports have stated that the upcoming years consist of increasing graduates with a limita- available tion of internship availabilities. Moreover, late last year it was reported approximately 500 Queensland registrars received an email stating they will not be continuing work with their respective hospitals in 2013; a definite concern for anyone devoting 30 hours a day to studying anatomy, physiology, pharmacolgy and anything and everything else to one day be a doctor.
It all started a few years ago when Australia decided to mimic UK’s transition and open up a whole lot of new medical schools. This increase in supply was based on the demand of “we need more doctors.” However this action could only meet the requirement of more doctors in 5 years time, not more doctors now.
Ashwin Agnihotri .
A large proportion of us in the HSM faculty aspire to be competent and reputable doctors one day. We undergo such stressful tests such as UMAT and/ or GAMSAT, which more often than not leave us doubting our abilities and in a pile of frustration. If we are one of the lucky ones who do scrap through those percentiles it’s five gruesome years of learning a vast quantity of content which is near impossible to completely cover. However, the end reward of having the opportunity to help people on a day-to-day basis, and also gain the respect of fellow peers seems worth all this effort. If the actual result does not even allow one to get even an opportunity to practice what they’ve obsessed over for more than 5 years – it could leave every such student asking the same question as Leigh… What’s the point?
If you’ve been living under the colossal rock that is Australian sport for the past few months, the AFL and NRL have been put under the spotlight for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Naturally, the media have blown this scandal into what seems a ‘world-ending’, ‘counseem extravagant, the frightening reality is, Australian sport has not seen a drug heist like this ever before.
DRUGS IN AUSTRALIAN SPORT
The drugs themselves being used (or the ones that we currently know of) are prohibited for use in professional sport in Australia and worldwide, decided so by ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). The performance enhancing substances are not uncommon to the endless battle between the illegal synthesis of recombinant drugs and the forever improving detection methods of anti-doping agencies. From a sports science perspective, SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) and GHRPs (Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides) are the primary points of concern behind the allegations being made against the clubs in question. SARMs induce increased benefits similar to traditional anabolic steroids such as testosterone including increased muscle mass, bone mineral density and fat loss. But why would clubs use
such a substance when conventional anabolic steroids can be used? SARMs have been shown to display a lower tendency to produce unwanted side effects. Furthermore, SARMs are a relatively young drug in the endless world of anabolic steroids; hence, the processes for detection are still developing. GHRPs are exactly what they stand for; they are a peptide that releases human growth hormone, the primary hormone involved in the stimulation of cell growth and proliferation. These peptides are easily detectable through standard procedure annual testing.
ly, the media jumped on it, and the entire sport industry came under disrepute. Following the frenzy of newspaper articles, player interviews and striking allegations, an increasing amount of players anonymously (except within their own club) confessed to using substances to enhance their performance illegally. To think this scandal couldn’t get any worse, the Australian crime commission released a shocking paper days later, stating that for the past year the Australian federal police had been probing into illicit drugs in sport and revealed that there had been known links to organised crime groups in The controversy arose when 4 Australia. The AFL and NRL AFL players (that still remain in conjunction with ASADA anonymous) confessed to AFL and WADA are furthering their executives regarding the use investigations into what seems of illicit drugs during the 2012 an unforeseen travesty that has season. This sparked many AFL bombarded Australian sport, and NRL clubs to lead their own with punishments reported to internal investigations regardbe unprecedented for players, ing the use of performance coaches and clubs. enhancing drugs. Unsurprising-
the Perils of
A growing number of thrill-seeking Aussies are ascending to great heights, yet many are unaware of the staggering lows that they risk.
by Dr. William Crozier
Increasing numbers of Australians travel overseas each year and a significant number of these choose to visit remote regions at high altitude - the Rockies (skiing in Colorado), the Andes (Machu Picchu), Nepal (trekking), Africa (Kilimanjaro) and Borneo (Mt. Kinabalu) are all popular. When you reach an altitude of greater than 2,500 metres ( 8,200 feet) the body responds to the lower partial pressure of oxygen and various responses are initiated. Some of these are instantaneous such as the increased rate of breathing. Others take days or weeks to manifest such as the increased production of EPO (erythropoietin) and consequent rise in haemoglobin and red cell levels. On arriving at a high altitude almost everybody feels the change. The slightest effort, such as climbing a flight of stairs or bending over to tie shoelaces, will result in panting breath and a pounding of the heart. Most people will develop some degree of headache. Appetite is often diminished. If the headache worsens and other symptoms such as severe shortness of breath and peripheral oedema (swelling of ankles or even the face) ensue this is referred to as Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS. Usually a day’s rest at that altitude will allow the body to compensate and become adapted to that height. This process is known as acclimatization and simply takes time. Increased height gain in the face of symptoms of AMS runs the very real risk of precipitating more serious, life threatening, health issues. As the body’s tissues are exposed to low oxygen levels they are unable to repair themselves. A large part of our energy requirements are directed at maintaining the structure and function of our cells. With the inadequate energy levels in the low oxygen environment our cells begin to fail and membranes leak fluid.
In the lung the fluid fills the air sacs and gives rise to High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE). The victim is very short of breath, coughs up frothy blood stained sputum and will become cyanosed with blue lips and fingers.Less common but even more dangerous is swelling of the brain - High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE). As the brain swells the pressure inside the skull rises dramatically leading to confusion unsteadiness and sudden loss of consciousness. The victim becomes comatose. The good news is that these conditions are relatively uncommon and the changes of AMS, HAPE and HACE can be reversed by increasing oxygen levels. This is easily achieved by removing the patient to a lower altitude. A drop in height of 300 metres (1,000 feet) is often sufficient. Oxygen administered from a cylinder, if available, will also help but the patient still needs to descend to a lower altitude. Experience and scientific study have shown that a slow rate of ascent and frequent rest are beneficial. The recommendation is that over 2,500 metres altitude a height gain of 300 metres per day with a rest day every 3rd or 4th day is optimal. Hydration is vital. There are internal changes in fluid balance as well as increased loss due to exercise - sweating and loss with higher rate of breathing. It is important to drink plenty of water.Simple analgesics will help the mild headache that most people get. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen are usually best. Aspirin is to be avoided at very high altitude. Diamox is often recommended. Diamox is Acetazolamide, a diuretic. This drug can be taken in a small dose of 125 to 250 mg. daily. It acts on an enzyme called Carbonic Anhydrase and it allows a more rapid equilibration of pH in blood and CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). Basically the Diamox allows the acute processes of acclimatization to occur in 12 to 24 hours rather than 48 hours – possibly meaning the difference between continuing the journey after a day’s rest rather than having to be evacuated downhill.
Grad Life in Canberra
People don’t ever believe when I tell them that living and working in Canberra is awesome. I’m not joking when I say that Canberra nightlife, (at least on Friday nights after after-work drinks) is thriving. I suppose with thousands of new graduates moving to Canberra each year, it had to work out somehow! We even have an overarching body that functions similarly to a student association called SNoG (Social Network of Graduates). I thought my pub crawl days ended with my time at Bond, but SNoG has one each year too! It honestly is like first year of uni all over again, but better - because we now have a salary... I highly recommend applying for a grad position with the Department of Health and Ageing, or any other government department really. I now have met at least one grad from each of the other departments, and they love their role and the work they do as much I love my role in the health
The The Sitch
his time last year, I was stressing out big time about what I was going to be doing after gradua tion. The pressure was on to hunt down that grad job- the only problem was, I had no idea where to start! I was two thirds of the way through a Biomedical Science degree, and 3 subjects deep into a Law degree. Having decided that I wanted to put my law degree on hold indefinitely, seemingly, my options were to either a) do an honours year, or b) do another degree. Though I did want to do further study at some point, neither of these options were appealing to me at that stage. I needed a break from study and wanted an opportunity to gain real work experience, as well as earn some money. I spent hours trawling through career blogs and newsletters, and finally came across a grad job that appealed to me. This grad job was with the Federal Department of Health and Ageing. I saw that their grad team would be at ‘The Big Meet’ in Brisbane, so I went along and had a chat to them about what the job entailed and how to apply. 3 interviews, 2 essays, and a cognitive/personality test later, I’m happily living in Canberra completing the first of my three rotations.
Stage by Jennifer Phan The Program
The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA)’s grad program is a 12-month development program offering three 4-month rotations in different areas of the Department. Graduates can be from pretty much any discipline, and obviously with an interest in health. Given that DoHA has around 5000 employees, there is scope for grads to do pretty much anything! I am in a cohort of 76 grads, and we all have very diverse backgrounds, from law, to teaching, to pharmacy, to exercise science. One of my reasons for choosing to apply for DoHA was that I wanted to work towards something meaningful and something that would have a large impact on many different people’s lives. I figured that if I was going to have to spend 8 hours a day working, it might has well be doing something that ticked those 2 boxes!
Applying department, so it really comes down to what The DoHA Grad team will interests you and ignites your passion. be at the Big Meet in Brisbane on March 25th at the Like I mentioned above, gradconnection is Sofitel in the Central Hotel a really good site to go to. Make some time Ball Room. In fact, ex-Bondie to go meet the grad teams at careers fairs; Sam Junor was a 2012 Grad make sure you get good reference letters! at the Department and is now Work towards honing your people manage- part of this grad team. If ment, teamwork and emotional intelligence you’re interested in applying, skills, as that is some of the biggest things do go along and chat to Sam! the Department (and many other companies) The grad team are just the look for. So, make sure you get involved loveliest people and will help with things your HMSA does, get involved answer any questions that you in different Clubs and Societies at Bond. have! Generally, just put your hand up and get The DoHA application proinvolved in lots of other things besides your cess is pretty straightforacademic studies to hone these other skills. ward, but, like most appliMake use of the Career Development team cation processes, it can be at Bond, they are absolutely amazing. They long. I initially applied in helped me a lot when I was preparing to go April, completed an online to my assessment centre, as there is a way personality test in June, had that certain companies like answers to their 2 interviews and a written questions structured, and they will be able activity, before being offered to point you in the right direction. Riani a position finally in July! Hani was my girl at the CDC, and I definite- Moving down from QLD was ly credit her for helping me get through. incredibly smooth; DoHA pay for a removalist company to If anyone has any further questions, I would move your things down, put be happy to answer any questions you might you up in serviced apartment have. I remember the feeling of panic last for 3 weeks when you first year when I was trying to work out my next arrive in Canberra, as well as step, so if you would like to email me, feel reimbursing you for all your free to grab my contact details off your travel to Canberra. The supPublications director, Georgia Hick. port once you’re here doesn’t My first and current rotation is with the Office of Health Protection division (OHPD). In official terms, OHPD’s responsibilities include: identifying health threats requiring national intervention, preventing health threats through implementation of national strategies, as well as to coordinate health responses to emergencies and other threats. In other words, OHPD’s responsibilities include things like Health Protection Policy – involving immunisation, communicable and emerging infectious diseases; and Health Emergency Management - which involves the National Incident Room (NIR), the room from which incidents such as the SARS pandemic, Bali bombings, and QLD Floods are managed and resources coordinated. I am absolutely loving my time in the APS (Australian Public Service) so far. There is a fantastic culture
stop either! We have monthly graduate meetings, where we will chat about any concerns/ issues, as well as having keynote speakers talk to us. This is very important; wherever you go, as the attitude of the Exec will filter down and influence the way your supervisors and directors treat you. Of course, in any job, there are going to be bad days. My biggest issue the first few months have been getting use to the full time hours; I must admit, it was a struggle to work for 8 hours a day with a 30 minute break in the middle of it. Some days can also be really overwhelming as you are exposed to so much new information, and on some days, the keen interest people have in you can be really daunting! Still, I would rather be running around, after being pulled into random meetings, asked to write reports and ministerials, and go to lots of (sometimes boring) conferences and forums than be sitting at my desk all day.
of supporting the grads at the department with a lot of focus on our learning and training. As a grad, you definitely are given many more opportunities then if you were to enter the public service through a normal stream. I have sat in on some really interesting high level meetings, for example, a Pandemic Planning Meeting last week; as well as shadowed some executive staff members where I got to meet some very clever and dynamic people – including the CEO of RACGP! People warm to you instantly and readily offer their insight as soon as they hear you’re a grad. If you’d like to know more about the different things that the department does, jump on the department’s website and have a quick squiz of the different divisions: http://www.health.gov.au/ internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-acdindex.htm