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Pain Trauma Paralysis And that’s just trying to buy a car

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Contents Feature: Feature: July - The Speaking of Global Health Month of Orange 10 RePort: Internship Crisis


Teddy Bear Hospital 05

Column: Wayte’s Wecipes 23

Submission: Placement Postcards 42


Centerfold: Please let me be your president


Feature: Feature: MEdical TV The Medsoc Shows - brit Yearbook Style 24 46 58

Report: Planning to Plan your HES




From the Editurds Crazy how fast this year has gone by! Feels like only yesterday when Sammy J and Lewis were handing over their Ductus-filled USB to us. Flash forward a year, and here we are, Ming getting ready for HES, and Neve still hungover from UV Party. And that’s what this edition of Ductus is about - we give you the lowdown on all things health equity and all of the mischief since our last edition. Besides that, the internship crisis rages on, and we bring you the latest news and stats. But when you’re not worrying about job prospects, how about taking a break and vegeing out to some British TV shows that we’ve recommended?

Recap: Medball


Report: Charity

Column: Warbles and Warts

an update 18


Report: Column: Report: My body is a Awkward Breaathhe wonderland Times around the ward

RecaP: Submission: GP Club 2013 It’s time to talk mental health 45

Report: Medicine in the Real World



Column: In(Sane) MEdicinformation


Column: Submission: Fellow M Ductus Doctor Dusk & Professor OverPassion the past 8 months, B RE AAT HH E

52 we have representativ 50 600 to 1100; 56 from we held a seminar week with incredibly more Nursing/Midwifery and Allied Hea

W hoopty -d oo, W ha t d oes i

Alternatively, you can bake some good year as Team #PUBS2013 and treats from Wayte’s Wecipes or satwe hopeinyou have enjoyed us (in a The boost membership numbers mea isfy your curiosity with some weird number of places and ways). Clubs in the country with budding relati medical stories and Medicinformayou all at MedRevue! xoxo RHWA etc tion. And if you feel bad about your (e.g. See NSWRDN, CRANAplus, love life, then have a read through and Mingimpact!) ; direct impact (a veryJillpositive o Ductus Doctos (and her friend Pro#PUBS2013 fessor Passion). It will make you relationships’ are stron g ly endorsed by realise how your problems pale in comparison to dilemmas and awkThere’s a common misconception that m ward love lives of others.

future: they have to be GPs who do no p

Been at Convention or missed doctor it? in the bush you have to be more Then live through it, or relive it resourceful. Many GPs who work rural h through our massive 10-page special feature on Convention (and Obstetrics, Anaesthetics, and Surgery. T Council, and ‘rem).

major centre) doctors who have underta

And when you’re done reading through this edition, don’t forgetSo to buy Ming or Neve a beer. It’s been a

where does B RE AAT HH E fit in?

We want to get you enthusiastic about e Cotton Grower’sIntroductus Scholarship placement 3 or need the contacts to be able to do so

By Farah Zainuddin & Arlina Arshad

Fact 1 Based on audit data, in 2012 there were 162 unplaced Australian-trained graduates. Accordingly, after the allocation of the 116 new positions, there remained approximately 46 unplaced graduates. All of these unplaced graduates were International Students. This numbers may seem small, but don’t forget, the number of medical students are increasing by year!

Fact 2 Domestic and International fullfee students are not guaranteed internships. Domestic students are generally prioritized above international students in the allocation system. This is true for every state, except Victoria whereby domestic students graduating from interstate universities will now be prioritized BELOW international full-fee graduates of Victorian medical schools and students from the Monash University Malaysia Campus. Fact 3 Domestic students were guaranteed internship in 2012; however, unless more jobs are created this guarantee will not last. Therefore, it is wrong to say that this internship crisis will only affect International students. If nothing is done, soon, domestic students will be affected too! So act NOW!

Fact 4 Higher education is Australia’s third biggest export industry (after coal and iron ore) and was worth $16.3b in 2010-11. It is generally acknowledge that the states, particularly NSW & Victoria are heavily reliant on international student revenues to subsidize the costs of training domestic students. Yet, the majority of the Australian-trained students without internships are international students in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Not providing internships for international students may severely and irreparably damage Australia’s international reputation for medical

education. Many other countries actively compete for this lucrative market and if international students are aware that their degrees may be worthless, many will study elsewhere.

Fact 5 Why has this happened? • Lack of workforce planning from Federal and State Governments to ensure internships and further medical training places are aligned with the number of medical graduates • Lack of regulation from Federal Government allowing universities to determine the numbers of international and domestic full-fee students with no central regulation • Inadequate Federal Government funding for medical schools contributes to medical schools’ recruitment of additional full-fee students • Medical schools recruiting numbers of international students well beyond the number of available internships • Inadequate communication from some medical schools to prospective international students about likelihood of obtaining internship • State governments being reluctant to fund internships for numbers of medical graduates they cannot control Fact 6 Australia actually has a shortage for doctors. A report from Health Workforce Australia predicts that there will be a shortage of over 3000 doctors by 2025. Yes, most of these shortages are in rural areas. However, contrary to popular belief, International students are keen to go to rural areas and work there! Thus, it is incredibly disappointing that these young, bright and capable medical students are being denied internship that will actually help Australians!

Interested in getting more facts? Keen to join us in our battle to make sure EVERY medical student gets an internship? Then contact MedSoc for more info!



Credits to the MSAT Team. Published with permission.

Photos by Ming Yong

Teddy Bear Hospital



untangling the Refugee Debate By Ash Phillips

The debate on asylum seekers and refugees has become one of the biggest electoral issues as we go into the election on September 7th but along the way, both sides of politics have been working hard to keep us misinformed.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and their ‘Hot Potato Van’ campaign have outlined the following common myths surrounding asylum seekers and refugees.

myth Asylum seekers are illegal. fact It’s not illegal to seek asy-

lum, even if arriving by boat.

myth Boat

people are economic migrants choosing Australia for a better life. fact Over 90% of boat people are found to be genuine refugees.

myth Boat

people are potential terrorists and pose a security threat to Australia.

fact No

boat person has ever been proven to be a terrorist. Boat arrivals receive the most scrutinised security checks of all.

myth Asylum seekers who come by boat are queue jumpers. For most asylum seekers, there is no queue to join. fact Coming by boat is the only option between life and death. myth We already do our fair share.



Australia is one of the most generous nations in the world with refugees. fact 80% of refugees are resettled in developing countries. In 2012 Australia was ranked 49th way behind Germany, the UK and the US.

refugee health Being a refugee is one of the worst social determinants of health. Some of the most common challenges faced by refugees according to the Refugee Council of Australia are • Accessing health services. • Underutilisation of interpreter services by healthcare professionals. • Mental health – this is exacerbated by prolonged separation from families. • Sexual and reproductive health. • Accessing healthy food and malnutrition. This year, WakeUp have begun a refugee health campaign called ‘Crossing Borders for Health’. Working as part of an international team we are setting up initiatives to educate med students about refugee health issues, directly reach out to the refugee community in Newcastle and advocate nationally for refugee and asylum seeker rights. On the 12th October we’ll be holding our first ever Refugee Health Picnic. Keep an eye out for more details!

medicine reaching new Heights in Nepal

By Caroline Powers

“When it comes to global health, there is no ‘them’... only ‘us.’” – Global Health Council.

Being a medical student is more than just attending our anatomy labs, finishing our learning targets and organising our next placement. It’s also about making a difference in people’s lives, and hopefully a sustainable one.

As future leaders in the healthcare community it’s up to us to think about more than just ourselves.

Global health is part of our futures as doctors, even if you never work overseas - it’s a responsibility we all have to be informed about the healthcare issues affecting humanity today, and tomorrow. We don’t have to save the world but we do need to make a difference.

Nepal is still one of the most impoverished nations in the world. Rural life is hard; some areas are completely inaccessible by car, many villages have no running water or electricity and many children drop out of school to provide for their families. There are people who have to walk for days in order to reach their local doctor, and the infant mortality rate of 13.2% is more than double than that of the urban areas. Every year, 1000 doctors finish their studies in Nepal. Unfortunately, 40 - 50% leave the country soon after graduation in search of greener pastures. Although capital cities like Kathmandu only have one doctor for every 850 people, the average in rural areas is one doctor for every 150,000. The reluctance of doctors to work in rural and remote communities is the fundamental cause of the appalling health services in rural Nepal. For the last few years Wake Up! has played a significant part in supporting a Nepali medical school which focuses on this rural health-

care problem. The Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS) in Patan is dedicated to improving the health status of the disadvantaged people of Nepal by producing Nepali doctors, trained by Nepali doctors and professors that will serve the most impoverished communities. PAHS is serving as a model of how to develop sustainable health care in rural regions by selecting at least 50% of its students from rural areas and providing 60% of the cohort with rurally bonded scholarships. Supporting the students of PAHS is the perfect example of sustainable aid. Last year, Wake Up! sent PAHS over $50,000 of brand new medical textbooks and over the next year Wake Up! will be raising funds to support a new community research grant; a project nominated by the students at PAHS.

Jazz in the Park is Wake Up!’s biggest event of the year. We will be raising funds for PAHS. It is a free event on September 5th, 5-9pm in King Edward’s Park, so please join us in supporting the medical students of PAHS as they work to make an impact on the health of the disadvantaged. For more information about PAHS please email Caroline Powers at

the refugee Experience: the 2013 global health seminar The 2013 Global Health Seminar will delve into key factors creating and shaping the refugee experience.

Speakers include: • Refugees living in our local community • Dr Murray Webber - Hunter New England Refugee Health Advisory Network • Sister Di – Support Coordinator, Penola House refugee support services • Nikola Leka – Advocacy Leader, Refugee Action Network Newcastle

Details are: • When: Thursday September 12th, 6pm - 8:30pm • Where: NUSA Building • RSVP: Email your name to (to help us with numbers for catering). Anymore questions or want to know more? Don’t hesitate to send any enquiries to We look forward to seeing you there!

This feature is brought to you by WakeUp!, Newcastle’s Global Health Group. For up-to-date info on WakeUp!’s various projects, events or ongoings, follow WakeUp! on Facebook.



By Amanda Paterson

Health Equity Selective!

HES has the opportunity to be a brilliant and exciting experience and you get to shape it any way you like! You may choose to stay in Australia and learn about health equity close to home. Or you may choose to go to a foreign country and learn about health care and disease patterns in an unfamiliar place. However you decide to spend your HES, a lot of planning goes into creating the experience! If I have learnt anything this past year whilst trying to organise my own HES, it’s that no matter how much of an organised person I thought I was, some things just cannot be accounted for. I underestimated how impossible it can be to make contact and communicate with hospitals in certain countries. I witnessed friends have their HES plans fall through 2 months prior to departure. However I also saw those who have had everything run perfectly as they tie all the loose ends together months prior to departure!

What and what not to do when planning HES

do • Start organising now! The sooner you start to organise, the less likely you are to miss out on that single available position in that hospital you are desperate to go to. Also, the more time you have to sort any issues that may arise whilst planning. The list of things to-do prior to HES never ends, and there is no such thing as “too early” when it comes to HES planning.



• Have several back up options in case your first preference falls through or is not approved! There has been cases in the past where political or geographical issues rose a few months before HES, leading to awkward last

minute scrambles and change of plans - all avoidable if you had backup plans to start with!

• Don’t be afraid to think big. HES is a fantastic opportunity to experience something outside of what you know and discover inequities in health you wouldn’t normally see or even imagine. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone! • Talk to students in the years above about their own experiences and get some inspiration. Students in older years are also one of the greatest resources when it comes to the big things like overall HES experience to the smaller details like accommodation, and even what to wear while at a hospital there. • Consider whether you would rather go global or stay in Australia and undertake a stream such as Mental Health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Global Health, Aged and Community Care, Rural Health, Child Health or Drug and Alcohol Health. You do not need to go global to get “the HES experience.” Many, many, many students in the past have stayed in Australia for HES, and some may even argue that staying an Australian HES was as good an experience as going global.

• Remember that if you’re going overseas you need more than just a supervisor. There are passports, visas, vaccinations, flights, insurance etc. to factor in. Make sure you also consider the must-dos at your destination; for instance, consider getting a scuba diving license if you are planning to go to an island nation, or start some cardio training if you plan to go hiking during or after HES. • Again, do not leave organising your placement to the last minute unless you want a share of some personal HES horror stories! I cannot stress this point enough.

don’t • Start planning or leaving things to the last minute - it really does not, and will not work! As a rule of thumb, get the ball rolling at the latest by January of the year you will be going on HES.

• Forget that whilst HES is up to you to plan, you can still ask for suggestions and help from the faculty and especially students in the years above you. • Start planning or leave things to the last minute!!

Places that students have gone to for HES

the americas South America - Argentina, Peru

Central America and the Caribbean - St Vincents and Grenadine, Honduras, Grenada, Barbados, Guatemala, Jamaica

Helpful tools for picking a continent, a country & a hospital


australia & the pacifics Australia - From urban and metropolitan Australia (Newcastle, Gosford, Sydney) to Rural Australia (NT, Tasmania, Taree, Broken Hill)


Pacific - Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Zealand, Cocos Island, Kiribati


Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Ghana, Cameroon, Mauritius, Kenya, Madagascar



East Asia - China, Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, Hong Kong

South Asia - India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

South East Asia - Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Singapore, Philippines Middle East - Saudi Arabia, Turkey


England, Budapest, Cyprus, Ireland, Bosnia, Germany, Macedonia, Norway


The Medic’s Guide to Work and Electives Around the World is an invaluable book to have while choosing a location. If you don’t have one, you can borrow it from the library, or as anyone in the year above - chances are, they have it!

TEN - The Electives Network - free access to students who have signed up with MIGA. A website with a vast variety of information on thousands of different locations, from accommodation, currency and what to expect, to testimonials from medical students from around the world who have been there.

Students who have already gone on HES - they’ve had the first hand experiences already, they can tell you if they loved or hated their HES, and they can probably give you contact details to speed up the process of finding a supervisor! Dr Louise Wright - quick, ask her your questions before she leaves UoN! She’s an invaluable source for ideas, extra options and contacts. Alternatively, send her an email, and she’ll be sure to respond, whether she is still teaching at UoN or not.

Choosing a location is one of the most exciting instances of HES planning, and things to consider when doing so spans from personal interests to culture and linguistics, so be sure to consider all bases.

Frequently asked questions Q

Can you go somewhere that isn’t listed on Blackboard? A Possibly! Put it on your preference form and you will be told whether or not it is approved.


Can you go to more than one place over the 8 weeks? A Yes! You can go to 2 places within the stream you are doing. For example, I am going to be doing 4 weeks in Malawi and 4 weeks in Zambia. So I have split my HES so I can visit two different countries. Students in the past have even done 4 weeks overseas and 4 weeks back in Australia.


If I am approved to go somewhere by the faculty, does that mean it is set in stone? A No. If the safety in your approved country changes, the faculty can change it’s decision and reverse the approval to do HES in that country. This happened to me, having found a supervisor in Kenya, the political situation changed and the faculty said I could no longer go to Kenya for HES. Thus I stress to you to have back ups ready!


HES is a brilliant opportunity to visit somewhere new and perhaps out of your comfort zone. If you don’t want to travel far from home, it is also a wonderful chance to learn more about inequities in health here in Australia.

Whatever you decide to organise for your HES, start planning now to ensure you get the experience you want whilst discovering inequities in health! And though it may seem hard to believe, most people find the planning process one of the highlights of HES, and more than anything, it will most certainly get you excited about your placement! APatz 1



By Seshika Ratwatte

I remember the night before my first day of HES very clearly. We were sitting under a fan in my grandparents house to get away from the sticky heat. It was an exciting moment - HES is built up so much as one of THE big experiences of med school, we wondered what we were going to get to do, which rotation we’d start off, which team we’d be attached to, how long would the hours be. Perhaps the comment which will forever cement our naivety at the time was ‘At least we’ll be away from the heat tomorrow, hospitals are air conditioned.’ ‘Hospitals are air conditioned here right?’ ‘Yeah, otherwise heaps more patients will die’. It turned out that heaps more patients did die.

So with this false sense of security we eagerly bounded into the hospital on the first day. For some odd reason we were expecting structure and to be told what we were doing and where we were meant to go. Instead, we were dumped on the two medical wards - the biggest wards in the hospital and told to do whatever we wanted. We looked around - there were gaggles of students, standing around doing nothing, past them were the wards. There were about 32 beds on one side of the ward. There were probably double the number of patients - you see there were bed patients and floor patients, and some of the nurses had the job of rotating the patients who were doing better out of beds so that sicker patients could take their place.



It was hot. Hot, hot, hot and sticky. It turned out that even functioning fans were a luxury on this ward. A horrendous screech filled our ears and we looked over at a meningitis patient, writhing on bed. There were barking coughs, and the sound of patients gasping on flem which subsequently spat out on the ground. We looked on the ground: there were old bandages, rubbish the odds sharps, lying next to the floor patients. Where was the hand gel, the gloves, the sharps bins?

Any sembelence of infection control?? No where to be seen. So you can imagine the two of us, Nicola (Wallace) and myself, constantly pulling out our pocket detol and gelling our hands, keeping anyone who looked infectious at an arms length. After all, we didn’t want to catch anything! There was no way we were going to end up in those beds. Or worse, the floor. To be fair to the two of us, the hospital we were working at is regarded as one of the best public hospitals in the third world. I think though, that knowing this but made the reality of the situation that much harder to accept because we thought to ourselves - if this is what it’s like in one of the best hospitals then just think about what it’s like in the poorer parts of Africa.

We ended up taking a lot of breaks that day in the students’ bag room. And in fact we fled the hospital by lunch time. It was a shock to the system. But we thought to ourselves: this is what HES is about, if you’re not confronted, or if you’re not pushed outside your comfort zone, then you’re probably not seeing or appreciating true inequity.

Those first 2 hours in the ward made a big impression on us. It was through those initial impressions that we each decided on the topics of our HES reports and decided to take a proactive stance during our placement.

The next few days were demoralising at times. We walked from ward to ward introducing ourselves, trying to navigate through the system and work out what on earth we were going to do for 8 weeks. After several shut downs and quite a few wasted hours, we stumbled into a paediatric ward round - the consultant noticed us and said ‘ah you must be electives students, come and join us’. And that was that, we spent the next four weeks there learning things which have come in handy this year, making friends and working with the local medical students, becoming a part of the team on the ward and for me personally

improving my language skills incredibly.

After that, we followed our local friends to the obstetric and gynaecological wards. A few gynie clinics and probably one too many vaginal exams later, we found ourselves in the birthing suite, or should I say ward. Privacy when giving birth is very much a privilege here. This is what I had been waiting for. I’d never seen a baby being born, and I was determined that I would deliver one by the end of our trip. Watching my first birth was another thing I will never forget. You know what’s going to happen - but the reality will never be the same as what you read in a book. First thing I learnt - labour is a long, looooonnnnggg process of a lot of women, I was so disappointed on my first day when I hadn’t seen a birth! On the second day, I did. I remember the head, pushing and pushing and pushing, trying to get through. Then, the nurse reaching for a pair of scissors. ‘No she’s not, she’s not actually going to make a-’. I’ll never forget the noise of fairly blunt scissors cutting through flesh, the high pitched scream which followed and the blood dripping on to the ground.

I soon learnt that non-anaethesised episiotomies are quite standard practice in many developing countries. It did not make that first time any less traumatic. Then, when the head finally started coming out, everything happened quickly. I was thoroughly confused, was that the head? Was that the body? Surely the head isn’t that big? But the head was that big! And it was in that moment that I realised that I am a tiny little person, who probably needs to train my body for child birth, starting with nightly hip flexibility exercises. It is, however, in the moments immediately after child birth that you realise what it’s all about: when the mother holds her new baby. Those were a few stand out impressions for me, but over my 8 weeks, there were a lot of more

subtle things I learnt. I saw doctors, nurses and the entire team using supreme clinical skills to treat patients when there weren’t the investigative luxuries we have back home. I saw clinic days where teams easily saw over 100 patients, yet treated each patient as an individual person and helped them as best they could. We found doctors and students who were willing to take time to get to know and teach 2 Australian students. Ultimately, I came to look past the lack of money, the over crowding, and the lack of infection control to see a lot of people working within the confines of their situation and succeeding as best as they could.

Reading this, you might think it sounds unreal, like a caricature. Well on those first few days, that’s what it felt like, like we were navigating our way through a cartoon. For those of you who havent had this experience yet, don’t think it will be easy, don’t think that people are there to worry about you - there are much bigger things going on around you, and realistically, as a 3rd year student, you are not qualified and sometimes are just not useful. But be persistent, move around the hospital, find where you can the most out of things and can be the most help to others. Those 8 weeks of HES were amazing and I’m so glad we had that opportunity. It really did open my eyes to what the reality of medicine and hospital systems are like for millions of people, in a world far different from ours.

‘Third world’ medicine at first hand Adapted from a personal account from Matthew Davis. The new head of the British Medical Association says parts of the NHS are verging on “third world medicine”. But what is health care in a developing country really like? My encounter with so-called “third world” medicine took place over two nights in Dunkorkrum - a town of about 5,000 people on Ghana’s isolated Afram Plains. I was working for a British charity and was accompanying one of our members who had contracted malaria.

The first problem was getting the patient to the hospital where there is no real ambulance service, the roads are little more than dirt tracks and the population is scattered in hundreds of small villages and hamlets. In the end she had to rely on a lift in a Land Rover from an aid agency. Most people in need of treatment would not be so fortunate.

Our first meeting with the hospital’s only duty doctor - Steve - was on the two-hour ferry journey which took us across Lake Volta to the plains themselves. He was returning from Accra and he agreed it was lucky there was no urgent need for him to get to work faster. When we all reached the hospital, Dr Steve disappeared and began a round of the wards that was to last almost 24 hours. Our patient was given a trolley to lie down on in a tiny room used by the hospital’s eye nurse for consultations. The charity’s medic had to help install the correct intravenous drip - and then periodically remind the nurses that it needed to be changed. She and I were allowed to put up our mosquito nets in an adjoining room - I slept on the floor with the

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cockroaches, while she had the luxury of a gynaecologist’s couch. The hospital’s staff let us take showers in the room next to the operating theatre where the surgeon - Dr Steve again - scrubbed up before operations. The toilet was an airless room without a light - or one outside, open to the elements. I only just managed to avoid serious injury on a series of nails protruding from the toilet wall. It would be hard to imagine patients or visitors being allowed anywhere near a similar facility in the UK.

As it got late and we got hungry, there was no celebrity chef-designed menu for the patients at Dunkorkrum. In fact, we had to walk into the town to buy food for ourselves, before turning in for the night. We were woken at about 4am not by a nurse doing an overnight check on the patient, but by the sounds of a woman giving birth in the next room. Not long afterwards, although unrelated, we heard a man retching in considerable distress. Twenty minutes later a rooster began crowing outside our window.

Throughout the next two hours we had a succession of visitors - none of them medical staff - who had come to see the “Obrunis” (white people). Among these was a Spanish missionary suffering from typhoid. We were pleased when he left. Dr Steve eventually returned to check on our patient’s progress. She was getting better, but the doctor looked shattered. We asked him if this was a regular day. It was - and he was staying on for a few more hours to help out. In respect of that sort of determination and commitment, there was no difference between Dunkorkrum’s duty doctor and the vast majority of doctors in the world over.



But as the queue of people turning up for treatment on the hospital’s doorstep grew longer and longer, the shortfall in resources looked greater than ever.

Full article avaiable from BBC News Online at hi/africa/2093005.stm

Taking every opportunity to do more By Anneliese Leerdam

I was planning to write this article on my flight from Perth to Sydney the other day but, as I am sure you would understand, I found myself unable to resist the beckoning of a free glass of wine and A Good Day to Die Hard. I was on my way back from GP Placement in Denmark, Western Australia. It has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been yet it was also full of some absolute fruit loops. The two weeks we spent there it rained every single day but it was a great placement and I got the opportunity to do a lot of clinical things that I wouldn’t have, had I stayed in Newcastle.

In first semester I spent four weeks in Cairns and went to two different medical practices, one an Aboriginal Health Service. I got to see tropical medicine, Indigenous Health, the usual GP presentations AND snorkel The Great Barrier Reef. Last year, and earlier this year, I also got to go to Melbourne and Sydney for AMSA Council. My point is, get involved and don’t miss out on all these opportunities to make the most of your time at uni! I’ll admit, it wasn’t cheap to do all of these things but if you take advantage of the grants from both the faculty (for placement) and UNMS (for conferences etc) you’ll be jetting around having a great time!

As I am close to finishing my fifth year of uni, and all my old school friends are graduating or already have jobs, I am definitely grateful that there are so many opportunities to make uni just a little bit more fun! With many of you starting to think about or organise your GP Placements or HES for next year or the year after, think about all the amazing places you can go and learn. Not to say that you can’t learn or won’t get a good experience if you stay close to home; just that if you’ve always wanted to travel or there’s something you’ve always wanted to see why not combine it with a mandatory course component! I would also recommend you stay on the look out for conferences that might interest you. There’s more than just Convention and GHC in the conference realm; this year we’ve given out a lot of conference grants to students attending some amazing seminars around the world and Australia! So, go do some research and make the most of some great opportunities. I’m going to be incredibly broke by the end of the year, but I’ve been to some fantastic places, learnt a lot and would highly recommend going to the extra effort to add in a little bit of travelling and sightseeing to what might otherwise be another mundane GP Placement.

“Conquering Monkey Rock” at Denmark, Western Australia (3rd Year second semester GP Placement)


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Join online at *Full terms and conditions available at au. Each winner will receive a Nikon D3200 SLR Camera with Twin Lens Kit and WU-1a Wireless Adapter valued at $979.95. Authorised under NSW Permit No. LTPM/13/00649, ACT Permit No. TP 13/02372. The promotion commences at 9am (CST) on 5 August 2013 and ends at 5pm (CDT) on 20 December 2013. The draw will take place at 10.00am (CDT) on 21 January 2014 at the address of the promoter. Insurance policies available through MIGA are issued by Medical Insurance Australia Pty Ltd. MIGA has not taken into account your personal objectives or situation. Before you make any decisions about our policies, please read our Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own needs. Call MIGA for a copy or visit our website. © MIGA August 2013

By Kimberley Neubeck

The Inaugural UNMS MedBall was certainly a highlight of Medicine at UoN this year! After months of searching for the best venue, deciding on the perfect theme, and choosing the most delicious food and drinks, the night of the Saturday 18th May certainly found everyone looking their absolute best.

Merewether Surfhouse was the venue of choice for the evening – its marvellous ocean views provided the perfect setting for a night full of beautiful people, glamorous decorations, and unlimited alcohol. Upon arriving at the venue, guests were greeted with an abundance of champagne and canapés before entering the abyss of balloons and candlelight filling the Surfhouse. The food was certainly a highlight of the evening. With guests choosing between a roast breast of chicken or marinated lamb rump for their main, and the dessert options being a classic lemon or chocolate tart, no plate was left untouched! MedBall also saw the unveiling of the winner of the McTavish surfboard, which was being raffled off by the lovely Amanda De Silva and Tasha Patel for MedSoc’s charity Fair Go For Kids. Congratulations to the lucky Lachlan Gan! The highly talented Tim Rossington provided entertainment for



the beginning of the night, keeping the crowd asking for more, with the staff at Merewether claiming that they had “never had an event where the guests have gotten so into the music!” Following this, Joel Wenitong continued the top-quality level of entertainment with his DJ-ing expertise, making the dancefloor the place to be that night! Ah, the dance floor. If there is one thing I believe that everyone will agree on it’s that Newcastle Med Students sure do know how to make the most out of a tiny dance floor. Whether it was enjoying the night dancing with your friends, holding your significant other in your arms, or finding a new significant other in one of your closest colleagues, the dance floor was certainly abundant with activities!

Despite the bar tab ending at 10pm, the evening blossomed on, and even bought out the creativity in many of us. Never before have I witnessed the hiding of so many drinks, nor seen people attempt to be so sly in the stealing of other people’s drinks – or, if you’re James Wayte, just walk up to someone’s table when they’re standing right next to it to take their drink. Thanks to everyone who came and made MedBall 2013 the amazing night that it was! Can’t wait for MedBall 2014! Kim and Susan q

Photos by Steve Sutton




To The Bowman Building (and our dear faculty), Newcastle has a reputation for a focus on anything-but-anatomy. That is to say, our course requires of us possibly the least anatomical knowledge of any doctor-creating degree. This could have to do with the fact that our faculty considers a medical education wasted on anyone who decides to become a surgeon and is, there’s no doubt about it, GP-crazy, or it could be a simpler, less conspiratorial timetabling issue: You all know the feeling: waking up on a Thursday morning feeling absolutely wrecked from the night before. And how are you kindly reminded of your degree’s omnipresence? The prospect of an anatomy lab led by inexplicably fresh faced and white coat-clad students in older years whose pleasure it is to tutor you. Countless generations of students have wondered: is the Department of Biomedical Sciences really so blindly ignorant of Wednesday night’s “Student Night” status, or are they just plain sadistic? The only thing worse than a hangover is a hangover accompanied by the nauseating smell of formaldehyde and the sight of corpses at various stages of dissection. For any of those poor souls arriving from a fruitful one-night stand, the sight of shrivelled, octogenarian and unpleasantly familiar genitalia is a more than unwelcome reminder of the dalliance with a Fanny’s (excuse the pun and, sorry, Argyle) pick-up the night before. It’s times like these when we question exactly why we chose medicine as our field. Why could we not have pursued a career in something further removed from feeling down a leathery oesophagus to a bolus of food somehow petrified into a crunchy mass. Something that would never bring us face to face with the Joker-esque “smile” of a mother-of-fourteen’s cervix. What’s more, the trauma inflicted upon our sensibilities has repercussions throughout our study. Chris Dayas’ FRSes bring back the queasy sensations first endured in the garishly lit MSB208. Never again can we watch Aclands online (although who does that anyway?) or pore over a 2008 150-year anniversary edition of Gray’s Anatomy without suffering flashbacks to those biweekly labs. It is no wonder we all bomb out when we reach those four MCQs come MedSci exams. It will take years before we recover to a point where we are no longer at the mercy of those memories. Studying cadavers is a confronting and potentially upsetting at the best of times. While attendance is by no means compulsory, labs are made no more enticing by the glorious hour of a Thursday 9am. If we ever want to match our UNE rivals for anatomy skills, or know 1% of the knowledge possessed by just about every other medical student from any other institution in Australia, something has to change. The difficulty (and sheer boredom) of mastering anatomy is not the issue. We must call on our faculty to cease their torture. We beg you: any other day! It is time to end the ridiculous timetabling that is, let’s face it, the only thing preventing us all from being the anatomy whizzes we have the potential to be. xoxo, concerned SurgSoc member



<> All EMS Personnel <>

Proper Narrative Descriptions It has come to our attention from several emergency rooms that many EMS narratives have taken a decidedly creative direction lately. Effective immediately, all members are to refrain from using slang and abbreviations to describe patients, such as the following: 1) Cardiac patients should not be referred to as suffering from MUH(messed up heart), PBS (pretty bad shape), PCL (pre-code looking)or HIBGIA (had it before, got it again). 2) Stroke patients are NOT “Charlie Carrots.” Nor are rescuers to use CCFCCP(Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs) to describe their mental state. 3) Trauma patients are not CATS (cut all to sh*t), FDGB (fall down,go boom), TBC (total body crunch) or “hamburger helper.” Similarly, descriptions of a car crash do not have to include phrases like “negative vehicle to vehicle interface” or “terminal deceleration syndrome.” 4) HAZMAT teams are highly trained professionals, not “glow worms.” 5) Persons with altered mental states as a result of drug use are not considered “pharmaceutically gifted.” 6) Gunshot wounds to the head are not “trans-occipital implants.” 7) The homeless are not “urban outdoorsmen,” nor is endotracheal intubation referred to as a “PVC Challenge.” 8) And finally, do not refer to recently deceased persons as being “paws up,” ART (assuming room temperature), CC (Cancel Christmas), CTD (circling the drain), DRT (dead right there) or NLPR (no long playing records). I know you will all join me in respecting the cultural diversity of our patients to include their medical orientations in creating proper narratives and log entries.



By Jillian Neve


Last edition, we released one of Waytey’s most popular savoury dishes, the cheese-and-vegemite scroll. This time, we want to show the world that Waytey has a sweet side too. And boy is it sweet! Be warned, if a single treat could cause diabetes, this would be it. So bring to your PBL at your own risk!

Two Combine all base ingredients in a bow. Mix well and press into lamington pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Three Combine filling ingredients in saucepan. Cook (while continuously whisking) over medium heat for 8 minutes or until golden. Note: Remove from heat if caramel starts to clump. Four Pour filling over base. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Cool and refrigerate until set (be patient-this may take a while!) Five Place topping ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir until melted and pour over the refrigerated caramel until set.

James Wayte, or Mrs Toby Hunt, is renowned for his charisma, enigmatic smile, and ability to charm even the toughest customers when getting MedSoc sponsorship contracts signed. But all that aside, a gem in Wayte’s many skills is working the oven. Safe to say, no one adds as much sex appeal to donning an apron and whipping cream in the kitchen like Wayte does.


1 cup of sifted plain flour ½ cup brown sugar ½ cup desiccatedi coconut 125g butter (melted) 400g can sweetened condensed milk 2 tbsp golden syrup 60g butter (melted) 60g Copha (chopped) 150g cooking chocolate (chopped)

One Preheat oven to 180 °C (continual). Line a lamington pan (28x18x3cm) with baking paper.

Last but not least, enjoy! And as a final note, remember this saying from Wayte himself “There is no better way to woo a PBL group (especially them gals) than with a serving of my oh so creamy and scrumptious caramel slice.”



Photos by John Phamnguyen Photography

An Overture to the month of July By Ming Yong

What a big month July was. Not just because third, fourth and fifth years were returning from a partially non-existent “winter break” and “learning heaps” over common weak (I spent my common week organising my email inboxes - it was very much well spent) but it was a big, big month for AMSA.

For those of you who don’t already know, AMSA (or the Australian Medical Students’ Association) is, according to their official branding document, in 250 words: “The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is the peak representative body for medical students in Australia. The key mandate of AMSA is to connect, inform and represent each of Australia’s 17,000 medical students at Australia’s 20 medical schools. AMSA’s core operations include advocacy, events and programs, and publications.

AMSA advocates for medical students through policy development, advocacy campaigns and representation to governments, universities and relevant medical bodies. Additionally, AMSA organises renowned educational, social and leadership opportunities for students. These include programs aimed at improving medical student health and wellbeing and others to increase awareness of community, rural and global health issues.” That aside - July was, to me, the month of Council and Convention. 1.5 weeks of living a life incomprehensible to my wildest imagination. There is no other way to put it - It was stepping into another world. Before we go on, best I digress a little to explain a few jargon. What is council, and what is Convention?

Unfortunately, I could not find these definitions in AMSA’s branding document, but I can try to explain. In the famous words of the ever-so-

wise Steve Hurwitz, “Convention is AMSA’s sexy way of roping people in, and then we bore them with the policies at Council.” Okay, I understand that that barely explained what Council or Convention are, but that quote had to be in Ductus somewhere.

Council is where 20 AMSA reps and 20 MedSoc Presidents (or proxies) from the 20 Medical Schools AMSA represents meet - to discuss policies, the direction AMSA is heading, the shape and issues we face as medical students and how we fare within the Australian medical education system. These issues are just to name a few.

Convention, on the other hand, is where we have 1000 medical students from across Australia (and a minute amount of those friends we call Kiwis) come together for a 7-day conference. One that aims to: • Inspire, motivate and blow your mind through a four days of academic programs presented by some of the greatest and most inspiring name in medicine and within the community. •

Provide an opportunity to meet, network and mingle with like-minded medical students through stunning 6 nights of social events with the craziest themes. Social nights traditionally end with a massive Gala Ball, majestic and grand to me, the closest to attending the Yule Ball at Hogwarts (another life-long dream of mine). Bring out the best in our university spirits, through competitions like Convention Cup and Sports Day - never have I felt more one with the JMP than at Convention. The Uni spirit and friendly competition between med school is definitely one to be admired.

Council in July was held at Bond University, and Convention 2013 on the Gold Coast.

Another fun fact: GC2013 Convention broke various world records, from spooning, to being the biggest student conference in the world #fact.

Sitting in on Council

I was fortunate enough to be given a guest seat at 2013’s 2nd Council, the one smack before Convention, partly because I am an enthusiast and wannabe student politician, but mainly because I was part of a NSW team bidding to hold office as AMSA’s 2014 National Executive.

Council was intense. Sometimes,I forgot that I was sitting in a room of medical students. No one held back - policies were discussed with fire and rage, and being vocal was the name of the game. It was nice to sit within the chambers where the agenda of AMSA and the direction we aspire to head as a unified voice were decided. Besides policy, this council also included presentations for AMSA Awards - from publications (in which Ductus and Introductus were nominated and I got to present it to council), community projects, initiatives to prestigious Presidents’ Award (which proud JMP Dave Townsend won!) and Student of the Year Awards.

Day two was more the reason why I was there - the bid process. Again, I will have to digress to four months prior and a little constitutional explanations. Every year, state-based teams gets assembled (if interested) to bid to become the next national executive. The process involves teams, of about 15 students in various roles, put out bid documents and present to council. The 20 AMSA Reps then vote for who they think should hold office the following year. I was fortunate enough to be approached to be a part of a 2014 bid

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team, and with Emma Curé, Nic Wood, plus 12 other students from six other universities across NSW, we fought hard to win the bid. Unfortunately, we lost. But apprently, it was very close. That can be a story for another day.

Safe to say, Council is very intense, between policy debate, gladitorial wars and the likes,. But, hey, at least there are social nights too, and this council, they included bowling, and a very strange Italian buffet a la food court styled restaurant. I would, if ever given the opportunity, attend council again. And if you ever get the chance, you should too! Don’t hesitate to contact your AMSA and Jr AMSA Reps for more info! Oh, did I also mention? Peter Dutton gave a talk this council.

And now we move on to the big (on more interesting) one...

Toto I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore

Rather than boring you with my personal accounts of the craziest week of my life, Jr AMSA Rep Nas has collected personal accounts from those who were at Convention. Buckle up, it’s going to be one mad ride.



I definitely enjoyed drinking beer whilst lining up for a roller coaster - that doesn’t happen every year! - Amanda Paterson, BMed III

Convention 2013: What did I love about Gold Coast 2013?

I loved the motivational and inspiration speakers organised each day for the academic program. Kim Phuc described her life since becoming known as the young girl in the photograph, running naked down a road in Vietnam during the war, her skin burned from napalm bombing. Commander Paul Luckin spoke about his experiences as an anaesthetist and paramedic as well as serving in the Navel Reserve as part of a resuscitation and retrieval team for the bali bombings and the 2004 tsunami. I also thoroughly enjoyed the hilarious key note speaker debate and watching JT win the title of ‘Australia’s Second Brainiest Medical Student’! I loved social - an exciting new theme every night and the illusive gnome Holly and I never managed to find! I definitely enjoyed drinking beer whilst lining up for a roller coaster - that doesn’t happen every year! Other great memories come from what people got up to after the social venues closed - how often do you get a call from a stranger explaining your friend has wandered into their hotel room in face paint and underwear with no recollection of where they may have left their dress? I loved sports day... Very unlike me! But, we got to set a new world record for the most people spooning, and then have the JMP (kind of, almost, no-where near) win Pipps and Cascade Cup!

And mostly I loved that despite it being my third convention, each academic session inspired me, each social night surprised me, and I still left wanting to go back next year!

As a Convention fresher I didn’t really know what to expect aside from near nudity at social nights, conventionitis and a pretty fantastic academic program. - Hannah Sycamore, BMed I

As a Convention fresher I didn’t really know what to expect aside from near nudity at social nights, conventionitis and a pretty fantastic academic program. I must say that GC2013 definitely lived up to the hype.

Sports day was incredibly fun. As an SAS soldier in Syria the poor EMC teams had to fix me up and evacuate from the area after my parachute failed to deploy. JMP absolutely ripped up in the challenge but the child geniuses of UNSW were left with the knowledge that they would be terrible medics after fleeing the gunfire and forgetting about their poor cold patient left behind in the rain. Sports day also allowed me to get to know two fellow JMPers quite intimately, as our 5 min spooning sesh became a solid 30 mins of Disney-inspired sing-along awesomeness. The Defence Force also made its way into the plenary sessions at academic. After hearing from Commander Paul Luckin, an Anaesthetist in the Naval Reserve, I have found the Defence Force to be rather appealing. Commander Luckin was one of the first foreign medical teams to enter Banda Aceh following the tsunami in 2004, where they set up a makeshift hospital and performed amputations with a saw found on the side of the road! Unfortunately for Aussie, I’m a Kiwi and therefore far too awesome for the Defence Force to hire. Dark Twisted Fantasy was by far my favourite social night. In part because by Friday evening conventionitis had set in and I was more hopped up on prescription drugs than LiLo at a court date. DTF drew some incredibly original costumes,

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2013 National Convention





with Black Swan being the most attempted costume for all the lasses and Adelads alike. Convention definitely surpassed all expectations this night and I was fortunate enough to witness the pulling-power of the JMPers as they sought after some sweet hooks for the evening. Next year is already amping up to be better than ever! Bring on rAdelaide 2014! Rather than paying a ridiculous amount of money to get wasted at social, sleep through academic and find a McDreamy from another med school, this year I really discovered what convention had to offer.

- Kate Thornton, BMed II

I headed to ‘Erth last year for my first Convention quite naive. What was a Ranger? What was Cascade? Why couldn’t I say the number 4 or the letter P? Why does everyone tell Melbourne to f**k off? And how the hell else does everyone know the exact same dance moves to a song which isn’t the Macarena?

Cut to 2013, one year later. I boarded the plane to the Gold Coast as an experienced Ranger, revising the cardinal rules in my head: body paint is a must, when in doubt ‘whizz’ in a game of ‘Remier league and most importantly, FSU, but do so responsibly. Convention was going to be different this year.

Gold Coast 2013 was different, but not as I had anticipated. Rather than paying a ridiculous amount of money to get wasted at social, sleep through academic and find a McDreamy from another med school, this year I really discovered what convention had to offer.

I headed to academic Monday morning (*cough* afternoon) nauseous and spattered in remnants of last night’s green body paint. Whilst debating whether to go home to for more sleep, or to have a sneaky tac-



tical vomit in the toilets, the image of a young girl appeared on the next slide, her beaming smile lighting up the screen. Before I knew it I was hanging onto the speaker’s every word, enthralled by Lucy Perry’s story of how her work with fistula’s in Ethiopia had transformed this girl’s life, setting the tone for an awe inspiring convention.

Over the week James McCormack and Michael Allen forced me to think twice about the rational use of pharmacotherapy, I marvelled at Sally Cockburn’s confidence to address controversial issues in medicine, my interest in emergency was encouraged by Commander Paul Luckin’s involvement in retrieval for the Bali Bombings and established author Nick Earl taught me that medicine isn’t my only defining trait. However, I didn’t leave the gold coast with only inspiration from academic and hazy memories from social, during the week I also learned how to surf, gained a Guinness world record for spooning and met a Melbourne ranger that I didn’t want to tell to f**k off! The JMP were lead by the enthusiastic (and clothes lacking) Jr AMSA Rep Nas, the organised AMSA Rep Lauren, the witty and comical debating team of Emma, Waytey and Dave and the brainiest (well 2nd most) medical student JT, leaving me proud to be part of the JMP.

I can only hope to make it through the frantic registration process and attend (r)Adelaide 2014 and do it all again, as convention never fails to reignite my passion for medicine, the flame of which, admittedly, can become a little dim at times. Throughout my time at Convention, I found that everyone was friendly, and I met so many other medical students from all around the country.

- Daniel Lamp, BMed II

Earlier this year, I had the impression that Convention was a 1 week party for rowdy Med students, with lots of drinking, and apparently

some academic stuff as well. Whilst some would argue that this is true (and I myself don’t necessarily disagree), I believe Convention is much more than this.

Just sitting there in the large hall during the academic program was truly memorable, looking around at the 1000+ ‘Rangers’, it was inspiring to see many like-minded individuals all gathered at the one place, furthering our medical knowledge. Favourite academic moment: presentation by Peter Ford, founder of ControlBionics who showcased his invention NeuroSwitch which helps severely paralysed patients (including ‘Locked-in syndrome’ patients-wiki it if you don’t know what it is) communicate, move their wheelchairs and even surf the Internet. It utilises EMG sensors on the skin that detects the minute electric impulses responsible for muscle movements. Thus the user can blink, frown or move their fourth finger to select keys on an on-screen keyboard. It was fascinating to watch.

Favourite social night: would probably be KaPow! at MovieWorld. It was just like every other awesome social night, except it was at a theme park, which added to the awesomeness. We had a very brief time window to go on the rides, but nonetheless most of us made it on at least one ride. Throughout my time at Convention, I found that everyone was friendly, and I met so many other medical students from all around the country. AMSA Connect was one chance of many to mingle with others, with teams made up of med students from different unis. We competed in a variety of challenges to score points, ranging from solving ECGs to constructing human pyramids. The debating was very entertaining, and our team of Emma Cure, James Wayte and Dave Townsend put up a gallant effort against Adelaide.

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2013 National Convention





We had more success in Australia’s Brainiest Medical Student- our very own James Thomas earned us 2nd place! I would definitely recommend Convention; it is an awesome experience, and I’m happy to say that now more people know what JMP is.

Bring on Convention 2014!-more infor at My last status I feel is the epitome of GC2013. “The awkward moment when you’re stumbling around the gold coast at 3am, with barney the dinosaur, trying to find some chicken and champagne...”

-Jemima Jones, BMed I

My fellow con-virgins and I hopped off the plane at the Gold Coast on Sunday the seventh of July with pretty hefty holes in our pockets; minds swimming with rumours of previous conventions; excited, apprehensive and to be completely honest, a little scared. Some of my thoughts at the time: How exactly does one apply body paint in the correct way? Do people really turn up to social events dressed in nothing but their underwear? Are we really going to get out of bed at eight in the morning every day, and nurse a hangover whilst genuinely enjoying an academic lecture? How exactly, was I going to survive seven days of this? Did Wayte really hook up with upwards of 20 people last year? What is conventionitis? And finally; was this really going to be worth the $1000 I spent on it? The answers to the first, you’ll have to figure out for your self. As for the last, GC 2013 was worth every cent and more, and this is why…

The social nights were literally mind blowing… ranging from dancing at a club painted as aliens; to riding a mechanical bull, dressed as an American Indian at Outback spectacular; to stumbling on and off rollercoasters at movie world



dressed as superheroes and villains. I learnt the art of ‘remier league and was dubbed ‘math-terbate’ (don’t ask…) I watched Jim Fann (and many others) sleaze onto numerous unsuspecting and somewhat intoxicated UNSW first years (to his credit he did get a few dates out of it); and I partied like I’d never partied before.

The academic program was incredible. We heard from Lucy Perry, the CEO of Hamlan foundation who spoke about her role in raising funds for Victoria Hamlin, a doctor that has been correcting obstetric fistula’s for women in Ethiopia for years. Inspirational speakers like this reminded me why I wanted to study medicine in the first place. Sports day was interesting…We broke the world record for the largest amount of people spooning at one time! So I spent a good hour and a half hung-over beyond belief, dressed in a sperm suit and purple cape, sandwiched between Jack McDonogh and Eddie Bellemore, who, and I quote…”didn’t understand how to spoon a woman.” All the while joining adjacent med cohorts to ‘sing’ “can you feel the love tonight.”

Whilst trying to think of some ideas for writing this article I went back through my facebook posts from the week. My last status I feel is the epitome of GC2013. “The awkward moment when you’re stumbling around the gold coast at 3am, with barney the dinosaur, trying to find some chicken and champagne...”

Looking forward to Adelaide 2014, anything can happen.

As most of you know, I’m not a big party guy but the Convention managed to change that about me, mostly because of the great people around me. - Aizat Drahman, BMed II

If I were given a chance to describe Convention in one word, it would be MARVELOUS!

This was my first time ever going to AMSA Convention. Before Convention, I had received many mixed comments from my peers regarding it. Some said, “Wow! Have fun. Trust me you won’t regret it” whilst others were not so enthusiastic. “Are you serious? You just wasted all your money. You will regret it”. In fact, I ended up enjoying every single moment of it.

As one of only two international student who went, I must say Convention has taught me to be a more mature person nevertheless to experience new things such as meeting heaps of new friends, socialising and gained new priceless, that’s right, priceless knowledge.

The Academic sessions were world class. From Professor Murtagh to Kim Phuc, I can’t say more than it was simply terrific! As President of the Malaysian Club at University and as a medical student, I gained valuable advice, nifty tips and many tricks from the guest speakers which ranged from improving my leadership leadership skills to advancing my medical knowledge. My favourite academic session was every single one of them! But of course there must be one and that was by Peter Ford, “The Key to Locked-In Syndrome”. We explored the technology that would help people with dysphonia and hearing problems communicate in a new way! I hope this tradition continues from one convention to the next! Social nights… Woo hoo! Amazing.

As most of you know, I’m not a big party guy but the Convention managed to change that about me, mostly because of the great people around me. Every social night, I made many new friends, shared stories about things we had in common and of course, destroyed the dance floor. The best social night would have to be Kapow! I dressed up as Superman with oversized undies. We had Movie World booked entirely just for us! Some tips for next year? GAI guys! Always remember at the convention you will have great people around you to look after you and to have fun together. One thing I will say to the International Students is, in the next 5 years of your medical course; make at least one trip to Convention.

You won’t regret it trust me. Thanks to this, I might have to go every year from now on. The memories from the convention just can’t stop cycling on my ‘Papez Circuit’.

What the frack is ‘remier league?

By Nas Abdul

You may have heard the phrase ‘want to ‘lay some ‘rem?’ if you attended any of the recent O-camps or Convention. You may have seen a group of medical students around a table performing the most ridiculous hand motions and sounds to accompany them. Or you may just be completely lost to what I’m talking about.

That’s okay too. It doesn’t matter where or how much you already know about the beautiful game. This article isn’t meant to ostricize anyone but instead try bring you up to speed. What I’m here to do is get you caught up on what ‘remier league is, teach you some basic moves so you can jump into the next game you see and I’ll cover some history while we’re at it!

A quick game’s a good game so let’s get onto it.

‘Remier league at it’s most superficial layer is a drinking game ‘layed by Medical Students. One that incorporates several drinking games into one and just for fun, adds a few extra rules on top. You may know some of the games already such as Whizz and Antlers – both are played at many student societies around the world but separately. ‘Remier League is made up of 7 games – Whizz, Antlers, Viking Master, Takahashi, Kuan Kuan Chi Ba, Chow Chow Bang and Zoom. Already looks complex doesn’t it? And that’s because it is – you will never be able to learn everything about ‘Remier League when you first start. But that’s the best thing! Even now, after a few years of ‘laying, I still find myself learning something new about the game. It’s what makes it fun, and it’s what makes it challenging,.

This brings me to my next point. Or ‘oint. Aside from the games, there are certain cardinal rules that are never meant to be broken whilst at an ‘able. Some make sense. Others don’t. And there’s really no ‘oint questioning them. Some include but aren’t limited to… 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

You can’t say the letter between “O” and “Q” at the beginning of any word. Refer to my ‘revious ‘aragraph. It can still be in the word, but is silent if it at the beginning. Thus this is why we ‘lay ‘remier league and not “play”

The number between 3 and 5 is denoted as “Bon Jovi” and to add further confusion, it’s pronounced as YOVI not JOVI. No brown language. ‘Remier League is a sport for gentlemen and gentleladies. BJ. ‘rink and learn.

The words drink, drank, or drunk are referred to as ‘rink, ‘rank, or ‘runk The table is referred to as ‘able

There are other rules out there as well and as to my 5th ‘oint, you will have to join a game to find them. Don’t bother trying to memorize the rules – there’s no fun in that! It’s okay to mess up and that’s best way to learn. It makes for a very enjoyable evening, trust me.

So how do you join a game? It’s very simple. The next time you see a game happening, approach it and squeeze yourself in between two ‘layers, raise your ‘inky and wait for the chair to acknowledge you. Once you have gathered their attention say: “Time in, TBA” Usually once a game is done, the Chair who is commanding the ‘able, will ‘oint to you with their elbow. You will time in as TBA, and will be assigned a number for that game. E.g. TBA 2, TBA 3, etc. If you are the only TBA at the ‘able, then you will simply be “TBA”. If there is one or more, you will be given a number. TBA means you simply haven’t received a ‘rinking name yet. You’ll get one when the time is right and that’s all I’ll say on that. The game starts with the Chair making a sound, usually something along the lines of “WHURRRRP” and timing everyone in. Being timed in is as real as it gets. The Chair will name the game you are playing and then specify who starts. How it usually goes is… “WHURRRP. Time out, Time in. Name of the game is ‘Remier League. Ball is in the court of… TBA 3” Or

“WHURRRP. Time out, Time in. Name of the game is Whizz. Ball is in the court of… TimeOfTheMonth” Which means for this round, you ignore all other games such as Viking Master, Antlers, etc and just ‘lay Whizz.

The above is just an example of the many variations allows for ‘Remier. It is very rare for two ‘Remier games to go exactly the same and that’s what makes it so fun. It all depends on who’s Charing, who’s ‘laying and what game type it is!

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So, you somewhat understand what ‘Remier League is, you don’t know any of the games, and you’ve timed in at an ‘able. What do you do? Well, surprisingly, you’ll learn the game very quickly just by watching the layers around you. Some things will confuse you and there is a slightly steep learning curve. But like with most things in life; the harder the climb, the greater the reward. It helps to know something though so that’s where I come in.

Like we discussed before, ‘Remier League is made up of 7 games. The best way to think about this is of an imaginary ball being ‘assed around an ‘able. A brief summary of some moves you can use during a game goes as follows. •

Whizz - When it’s your turn, simply raise one of your arms and cross it over to the other side, parallel to your body and say “whizz”. Whizz continues the current direction of the ball so which arm you use is important. If the ball comes to you from the left, use your left arm. If it comes to you from the right, use your right arm. Bounce - When it’s your turn, grab both your hands infront of you and bring them down whilst saying “bounce”. Bounce causes the ball to skip the layer in front of you without changing it’s direction.

Bang - When the ball is in your court, bring up the arm that’s opposite to the direction it came from and make a motion as if you’re pulling down a lever whilst saying bang. Bang reverses the direction the ball is coming is which arm you use matters. If the ball comes from the left, use your right. If it comes from the right, use your left.

These are just a very small sample of moves but they’re enough to survive a little longer than if you knew nothing. Like I said, the best thing you can do to improve is ‘rink and



learn. You now know how to join a game, and last a few moves. The next thing you should do is find an ‘able!

Unfortunately, Newcastle hasn’t had the biggest movement when it comes to ‘Remier, but we are growing! The game’s origins are somewhere around 2005 at Convention and from there it’s expanded to almost every medical school in the country. It’s bigger in some schools than others *cough*Adelaide*cough* but it is growing. Exponentially at that. There are currently over 250 known ‘layers across Australia.

It’s gotten so big in fact, that governing bodies have been erected to maintain communication between states and keep the standards of the game universal. For each state there is a High ‘Able, which concerns itself with increasing awareness of the game. A representative of the High ‘Able goes on to sit on the National High ‘Able. We even have a Royal Australian College of Remier League – you can apply to become a Fellow and sit the examinations! Yeah…

But yes at it’s core. ‘Remier League is still a ‘rinking game. A very fun one at that! And the next time you see a game happening, don’t settle for another usual night out. Challenge yourself, time in and see where the ‘able takes you. I’ll leave it at that for now. Hope to see you at an ‘able.

Yours in ‘Remier League love ‘Enis Envy a

NB: The author recognises breaches of certain cardinal rules in the writing of this article. The author wishes to make an ‘oint of order that this was done for the betterment of the beautiful game. The author will consume.

From your AMSA Rep, with love By Lauren Godde

After spending 3 days at AMSA July Council followed immediately by AMSA National Convention in the Gold Coast, it is safe to say I now live, breath and bleed AMSA Orange.

AMSA Council What a council! From the passing of every presented policy to voting on the Bid Teams for the 2014 AMSA Executive, it was an incredibly busy Council. A Bid Team from NSW (with our very own Ming Yong, Nicola Wood and Emma Cure) and Victoria were up against each other to form the 2014 AMSA Executive. Despite going so well in the presentation and questioning, NSW lost to Victoria. Massive congratulations to the Team and Ming, Nicola and Emma for representing UNMS so well.

AMSA Convention AMSA Council was followed by the extraordinary week that was AMSA National Convention. From the extraordinary academic events and speakers to the crazy social nights, Newcastle students went Coastal and enjoyed every second of it! AMSA Vampire Cup UNMS took part in the AMSA Blood Donation Challenge, the Vampire Cup, in July and August. Whilst we are no Deakin, UNMS improved significantly on our results last year, saving 72 lives in 2013!

Coming Up AMSA Third Council will be held over the long weekend in October in Sydney. Details will be posted soon about the upcoming AMSA policies, so if you have any opinions or want further explanation, please feel free to talk to myself, Nas or the incoming AMSA and Jr AMSA Reps. GHC 2013 is also just around the corner now, and with several Newcastle students travelling to Hobart to be part of this event.

Lauren f

Get excited for more spectacular AMSA events in 2014. GAI. FSU.

50 Shades of Orange By Steve Hurwitz

This fantastic publication has no doubt emphasised the glory of AMSA’s events. Convention, GHC and NLDS are all world class events. However they are just a small part of an enormous organisation that has a turnover of over $5million per year! I could crap on about advocacy all day. I ran into the 2006 AMSA Public Relations Officer a couple of weeks ago. I asked him what he advocated on back then. The answer? Internships! Sigh, some things never change.

However did you know that back in the early 90s AMSA advocated against restrictions on medical students numbers! More interestingly back in the 1980s when the fear around HIV reached its peak, there

were calls to force medical students to be tested for HIV and kicked out of medical school if they were positive! AMSA was strongly opposed to these calls. So AMSA has been trying to take a stance on the big issues for a number of years. We’re always trying to do what’s in Australian medical students’ best interests. However this relies on us hearing and listening to Australia’s medical students. While I want you to engage in AMSA’s events, I want you to engage with us more frequently. Calls for a national barrier exam are becoming louder. We currently oppose that, but should we? Medical Rural Bonded Scholarships may also be dissolved? Should AMSA support this? I’ve been part of AMSA for almost 5 years now. AMSA is a great organisation to be a part of. Whether it’s holding an official position, organising an AMSA event, attending an AMSA event or just contacting

your AMSA rep to share your views, there are so many ways you can get involved. If you keep an eye on AMSA’s Facebook page you’ll see plenty of these opportunities advertised, so get amongst it!

As a final note, this is the last time I’ll write in Ductus after writing in every edition since starting med here and in 10 weeks I’ll finish med school for good- thanks for the ride everyone- it’s been awesome. Goodbye forever! Steve h



By Elias BigDawg Sack-wars

… that has been condemned by the local council and shut down.

After attempting an all nighter to cram for my PBL tutorial on alcoholism, which I then promptly slept through, I have come to something of an epiphany. Is there not some inherent irony in the habits of the average medical student?

Now while I am generally a mean person, I would not consider myself average – far from it. I excel in every aspect of my life, whether it be basic first year medical science, Ductus article writing or knowing when I am at the legal BAC limit to drive. I’m pretty great at everything. But let’s consider the average medical student – twenty something, reasonably intelligent, driven, and of course, male. Where would you expect to find this student on any given Wednesday night? Unless he is a nerd linger, wedgie-magnet like Max Ray, they’re probably out on the town damaging their brain cells with every vodka raspberry they knock back.

Is there not some mild hypocrisy in these actions? We are the future bastions of good health after all! Yet we drink to excess, stay up all night and turn up to lectures late the next day smelling vaguely of rum and urine. Sure, we could explain it away through the old adage of “work hard, play hard,” but then again, lots of us don’t work particularly hard. And even when we do during stuvac, we tend to eat out own body weight in chocolate.

There is certainly some expectation from society regarding people involved in the medical profession and their health. I can’t tell you the amount of times friends and family have admonished me over my poorer life decisions while citing what I study at university. I can’t tell you that amount mostly because I’m bad at math, but also because it happens a lot.



I suppose it’s the same for any profession though – would you trust a

dentist with bad teeth? A butcher who was a vegan? Or even a firefighter who also was The Human Torch? He’d burn more buildings down than he’d save, let’s be real. It’s not unusual for people to hold you to a higher standard in your personal life where it relates to your professional life. It’s just lame as balls that for us that generally equates to the majority of the fun stuff in life.

But ultimately it’s just one of those pointless questions to ponder late at night in bed or in the shower. Like why do the ventricles in the brain look like the starship enterprise? Why did they pick Ben Affleck to be the new Batman? Why is Estelle so blatantly obsessed with me? It’s never going to happen ‘Stelle, move on! I guess in conclusion what I’m trying to say is ...YOLO? Seeya at ER party!

The Social Seahorse is pleased to announce the joyous marriage of James Wayte and Tobias Hunt. In what could only be considered a whirlwind romance, the two were married on the evening of Wednesday the 26th of July, after a sixday engagement. Love is a fickle thing. Who could ever have imagined these two lads from entirely different backgrounds would end up together? James - the small town country boy from Canberra, and Toby - the socially outcast, red headed monster. It must be true what they say; opposites attract. The Wayte and Hunt families are overjoyed at the news – and on the whole quite relieved. Until now, each family had often wondered about the sexuality of their respective boys. As had we all. On behalf of the UNMS, UoN and all marine animals: I, Social Seahorse, wish these two a long and happy marriage. May their passion forever burn as red hot as a Hotdog deWheels which I ate right after their ceremony. Ch♥♥tz

Photos by King St Hotel

Halfway PArty



Shock of his life

Tags: 100 ways to die

An 18-year-old High School leaver from Birmingham, Alabama was rushed into the ER after he been severely electrocuted. After much hesitance, he later explained that he had been sat at his computer, visiting some “adult” websites. After his “right hand had said hello to his One Eyed Snake”, he came, spraying his bodily fluids all over the keyboard and onto the screen, causing the current to pass through his body.

Romantic Dinner Gone Bad Tags: Sex Bathroom

A couple hobbled into a Washington State emergency room covered in bloody restaurant towels. The man had his hands around his abdomen and the woman had hers around her head. They eventually explained to doctors that they had gone out that evening for a romantic dinner. Overcome with passion, the woman crept under the table to administer oral sex to the man. While in the act, she had an epileptic fit, which caused her to clamp down on the man’s penis and wrench it from side to side. In agony and desperation, the man grabbed a fork and stabbed her in the head until she let go.

Stay off the grass Tags: Private Parts

A nurse was on duty in the Emergency Room, when a young woman with purple hair styled into a punk rocker mohawk, sporting a variety of tattoos, and wearing strange clothing, entered. It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was scheduled for immediate surgery. When she was completely disrobed on the operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had been dyed green, and above it there was a tattoo that read, “Keep off the grass.” Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient‘s dressing, which said, “Sorry, had to mow the lawn.”

I peaked under the wrong dress! Tags: Oops!

A man comes into the ER and yells, ‘My wife’s going to have her baby in the cab!’ I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady’s dress, and began to take off her under-wear. Suddenly I noticed that there were several cabs — and I was in the wrong one.

Big Breaths

Tags: Private Parts

At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient’s anterior chest wall. “Big breaths,” I instructed. “Yes, they used to be,” remorse the patient.

Massive Internal Fart Tags: 100 ways to die

One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct. Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a “massive internal fart.”

Stories reprinted from “My HIPAA Violation.” More stories available at:



an update from the paddocks. Fun fact: Moree was connected to the electricity grid last week

Fellow Medical Students, Over the past 8 months, B RE AAT HH E has come in leaps and bounds. Our student membership has grown from 600 to 1100; we have representatives across three campuses (Callaghan, Ourimbah, and Port Macquarie); we held a seminar week with incredibly talented speakers from inter-state; and we’ve successfully engaged more Nursing/Midwifery and Allied Health students since BREAATHHE’s inception. W hoopty -d oo, W ha t d oes it a ll m ean , B asil? The boost in membership numbers means we are one of the largest and most discipline diverse Rural Health Clubs in the country with budding relationships with some of the most important stakeholders in rural health (e.g. NSWRDN, CRANAplus, RHWA etc.); the increased numbers of Nursing/Midwifery and Allied Health has a direct impact (a very positive impact!) on the Medical Student gene pool… These… erhm, ‘inter-disciplinary relationships’ are stron g ly endorsed by B RE AAT HH E. There’s a common misconception that medical students have about someone who wants to go rural in the future: they have to be GPs who do no practical hands-on medicine and sit behind a desk all day. To be a doctor in the bush you have to be more qualified, more talented, extremely dedicated and incredibly resourceful. Many GPs who work rural have undertaken training in another speciality – e.g. Emergency, Obstetrics, Anaesthetics, and Surgery. There is also a huge demand for part-time (or full time if you live in a major centre) doctors who have undertaken speciality training in all of the above and more. So where does B RE AAT HH E fit in? We want to get you enthusiastic about experiencing rural towns and areas. Maybe you go on John Flynn, or a Cotton Grower’s Scholarship placement… Perhaps you ask us to help organise one of your rural placements or need the contacts to be able to do so. Or, maybe you were looking for funding for a trip/placement. That’s why we exist. Get involved, get back to basics, become feral, and lose yourself in the amazing countryside we have. You might even make a difference when you’re out there.

Jam es P ea rlma n PR E SID E NT

BREAATHHE: The University of Newcastle Rural Health Club Email: For more information check out:

By Jillian Neve

Tramadol Scandalol

The frequently prescribed painkiller tramadol (tramadol hydrochloride) has been linked to over 150 deaths in the United Kingdom over the course of 2011. For all budding pharmacologists, Tramadol is a centrally acting synthetic aminocyclohexanol analgesic with opioid-like effects used in moderate to severe pain. It is useful since it can provide relief to patients refractory to codeine.

In Australia, the drug is available in capsule, tablet, injectable and controlled-release forms. Historically, Tramadol has been thought to hold a low risk of dependence because part of its activity is derived from its active metabolite, which extends the duration of mu-opioid activity. This delay is believed to decrease abuse liability. However, alarming new evidence from the UK changes this.

The medical use of Tramadol has nearly doubled over the past eight years, along with a rise in its use as a street drug (2011 Street Drug Trends Survey). While tramadol is not classified as a controlled substance in Australia currently, there exists the possibility for it to be abused. According to, the issue of dependence is not so much about the quantity of Tramadol initially prescribed, rather the length of time for which it is used. The groups most likely to abuse the drug are people with chronic back pain, those who already abuse narcotics and healthcare professionals (Yes-we are in a high likelihood group for something other than depression!).



So while the United Kingdom is considering a ban from public sale, should we be doing the same? These decisions are not up to us, but the decision to prescribe Tra-

madol over alternatives is. In order to prevent addiction and minimize adverse effects and interactions (both of which are frequent), patients should be regularly monitored, particularly in the early stages of therapy.

The iKnife The list of awesome gadgets named by placing an “i” before a noun is ever growing. From the humble iMac to the iPad, iPod, iPhone and iTV, the prefix seems to be associable with anything cool and at the forefront of technology.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the recently developed “intelligent” scalpel has been named the iKnife. This hi-tech tool can detect malignant tissue and differentiate it from benign, thus allowing surgeons to know for sure if they have removed all cancerous or otherwise unwanted tissue. This will have huge implications for the future of tumour removal.

Currently, over 20% of cancerous tissue can be left behind in breast cancer operations alone, and removing all neoplastic tissue can be even harder in other cancers. Invented by Imperial College London’s Dr Zoltan Takats (what a sick name!), the iKnife saves both surgeon and patient time, expensive testing and further operations. Currently, tissue samples must be sent off to the lab mid-procedure for analysis, the results of which can take between 30 and 120 minutes to come back. The version currently being tested at St Mary’s Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals identifies

healthy, malignant and borderline tissues while the incisions are being made.

While the surgical and medical benefits are obviously huge, all that we could think about as we heard of this magic knife was its reported capacity to detect between beef and pork, and the impact this could have on the life of our good friend Steve Hurwitz.

Thuper-Duper Glue It’s any parent’s worst nightmare: discovering something wrong with their child after three weeks of normality and joy at a new member of the family. However, in the case of Ashlyn Julian’s family, a cerebral aneurysm - a condition practically unheard of in infants under 28 days - caused both parents to hold their breath for over a week as their baby started bleeding out of her brain and then underwent a miraculous surgery. It turns out that Kansas does not just have great sunflowers and wheat, but also some great surgeons. A team led by paediatric neurosurgeon Koji Ebersole of the University of Kansas Hospital used superglue to repair the aneurysm after Ashlyn experienced a second traumatic bleed. The normal procedure used in the management of brain aneurysms is to open the patient’s skull and operate from outside-in. But in a three-week old, opening the still-fusing skull could have stunted Ashlyn’s development and the risk of blood loss involved in open surgery would have been too high. So Ebersole decided to treat from the inside.

Because such bleeds in bubs are so rare, there are no tools especially for such operations, so the smallest adult pieces of equipment had to be used.

Entering through the femoral artery, a catheter was navigated through Ashlyn (all 25cm of her) and up to her brain, where a microcatheter was then wiggled into her brain, next to the aneurysm itself, which was the size of an olive. Ebersole could then deposit the superglue onto the ruptured blood vessel, where it dried and created an internal cast. All of that wizardry took the team a mere 45 minutes. Now normal (albeit sterile) superglue - with exactly the same composition of the stuff we buy at Bunnings.

Whether superglue will ever replace the sticking plaster remains to be determined, but if you’re ever short a Band-Aid, you could find out for us!

To talc’ or not to talc’ Unbeknownst to many of us men, talcum powder is not only used by our mothers on our own infantile bottoms and by our grandmothers basically everywhere. It is also used for what some newspapers reporting a recent study call “intimate personal hygiene”. That is to say, they use it in their genital area. It decreases friction and absorbs moisture, which is something women apparently “dig”. The talc in talcum powder is the end product in a complex procedure of mining, milling, drying and crushing rocks. As well as contain-

ing talc, these rocks also contain minerals like magnesium, silicon and, until recently, asbestos.

For everyone not second year-plus, and anyone who is not up to date with Tony Abbot’s recent dick move of calling a man suffering from asbestos-caused mesothelioma a “liar”, asbestos is a particularly nasty fibre that can cause cancer in the lungs. Talcum is now asbestos-free (phew!) but there is growing concern that such intimate use could also be causing ovarian cancer.

In essence, when the powder is applied to the genital area, it travels through the vagina, into the uterus and along the fallopian tubes to the ovaries (like a reverse ovum!). As in with asbestos and silicon fibres in the lungs, the body is unable to destroy or remove these minute fibres, some of which take years to dissolve. The theory that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer was initially tested on animals, and up until now tests on mice and hamsters have not been conclusive. The most recent study by Cancer Prevention Research did not find a direct link but did support other work, including a 2003 meta-analysis that found a 30% increase in ovarian cancer among talc users. This seems extreme, but an average woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is under 2% and a 30% increase would only marginally raise this figure. Moral of the story? Talc on your baby’s bottom is fine, but avoid any prolonged exposure girls (and boys). Besides, there is a very reasonable alternative to talcum powder: just wash!



The Entrance, New South Wales

- Susan Jacobs

What to Expect from First Year GP placement – The Entrance I expected first year GP placement to be a bit of a joke. I saw it as just a mandatory part of Prof Prac; just about as useful as Patient Safety. I chose The Entrance because it was close to Sydney; I had heard it was a pretty place but mostly because I wanted to see the pelicans.

It turned out that my GP liked to run his practice like an army camp. He unfortunately did not believe in lunch breaks. We arrived at 8 and sat with him as he worked non-stop until 7.00pm. Intermittently he would ask us questions, make us examine parts of the patient or explain aspects of particular patients’ conditions.

Some tips: 1. GO IN A PAIR – I cannot stress this enough. It halves the spotlight that would otherwise be focused on you and also the boredom that will inevitably sink in. 2.

3. 4. 5.

Eat well and/or drink coffee beforehand – This is so that you don’t seem whiny and pathetic when you ask for a lunch break Practice an expression where you look interested in what is happening around you Know which way your stethoscope goes in your ears

The upside of it all is that you pass for simply showing up!!

Most Interesting Point of the day: watching the GP deal effectively with a schizophrenic man, who had come in because he thought that “the birds were out to get him”; and also with a person who was solely seeking addictive prescription medications.

The lowest point of the day: The embarrassing moment when he told me that my stethoscope was inserted the wrong way in my ears. This was after a whole day of trying to take peoples blood pressures, and an entire day complaining that I couldn’t hear a thing. In close second would be the point where he was wrapping up and he sternly informed me that I would have failed and had to repeat the placement if I was in third year.



In between those two points I managed to see and do all manner of things- palpate hernias, my partner was allowed to give a vaccination, perform an ECG, examine an infected ear as well as take and enter histories in the computer system. As expected; there was a significant amount of time spent observing; attempting to manage intelligent responses to questions and trying to look captivated.

Denmark, Western Australia Hi Mum,

- Liese Leerdam

I’ve managed to survive my first week in Denmark. Surprising really, because the last student who stayed here woke up to find a goat hanging (dead) in the shower one

morning... Some of the people down here are a little fruity, I’d say this is the Byron Bay of WA. So far I’ve met a ‘sacro-cranial balance therapist’, a lady who eats leaves and someone who cured their cancer with salt therapy. Last night we got dragged along to a local play. We thought it was going to be Shakespeare put on by some bored local kids, but boy were we in for a treat. There was renaissance dancing, poetry readings, a live band and free wine!

Placement is great though, I’ve got to do all sorts of things. Anaesthetics and lots skin lesions and even been to a few different nearby towns. The other night we got called in to the emergency department (the local hospital is run by the GPs) to stitch up a guy’s hand. He’d accidentally turned on his belt sander while holding it and made an absolute mess of his hand! We’ve been to some beautiful beaches and there’s lovely country side. Lots of wineries! It almost looks just like the hunter valley, but the dirt is red.

I hope other people choose to go rural for their placements, it’s a lot of fun and you get to do heaps of different stuff! I would even tell people to come here, but maybe rent their own accommodation… See you soon, Anneliese

myself; I went home with a nice little collection of text books, medical equipment, and even a USB-port cup warmer..

Dubbo, New South Wales

- Jessica Del Bianco

I completed my 2013 3rd year GP-placement at DubboCare Family Practice and Dubbo Medical and Allied Health, which was organised through the university. I chose to go to Dubbo because I have family who live there, however I didn’t really know about any of the practices, so the university organised that aspect for me. I was privileged to work with unique and dedicated medical professionals (including a few Newcastle graduates) and meet patients with a variety of conditions. I gave over 100 vaccinations in flu and Q-fever clinics (although I can’t say I enjoyed going to the abattoir, and I politely declined when offered a tour of the facility), excised and sutured skin lesions, formed care plans, visited patients in nursing homes participated in video-consults with distant specialists and more. Whilst I enjoyed the hands-on aspects of placement, I also learned a lot from sitting in and observing how individual doctors run their consults. Towards the second half of placement, I had my own room and was seeing patients on my own with the GP coming in towards the end to make sure I had managed the patient correctly. Whilst this was nerve wracking and at times frightening, I feel I gained a lot from the experience.

Another part of placement which I enjoyed was the lunch time presentations from pharmaceutical representatives and other health professionals. Whilst the free food was always a bonus, some of the talks were very interesting. Some even had freebies for the staff and

When I wasn’t on placement, I was spending time with relatives who live in Dubbo. I also went to a few museum exhibitions at the Dubbo Community Arts Centre. I was privileged to be invited to dinner on several occasions with doctors and their families, and I was also invited to a talk on aged care which was held at the Western Plains Zoo. My tip is: if you want to be more involved, just ask! I would definitely recommend Dubbo for placement.

Team Ductus would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s placement postcards. 1. Jess Del Bianco 2. Liese Leerdam 3. Susan Jacobs

The prizes this year are $100 for the winner, and $50 for both runner ups. Stay tuned and keep your ears peeled for next year’s competition!



Join the journey GP training with GP Synergy

New England/ Northwest

Sydney Central and South/Southwest

GP Synergy Chippendale: 02 9818 4433 Liverpool: 02 9756 5711 Armidale: 02 6776 6225 Moree: 02 6752 7354 E: W:

By GP Club

As GP Club draws to a close this year, we can take a look back at the diversity of the six events coordinated this year by General Practice Training – Valley to Coast and the University of Newcastle’s Discipline of General Practice: two events for all years in Newcastle, two Advanced events in Newcastle for Year 3 and over, and two Advanced events in Gosford.

Every event features GPs speaking about their inspiring careers that showcase the flexibility of this career as most enjoy several part time roles for the challenge and variety. Since GP Club started back in 2006 we have invited many GPs living in the vicinity to speak. It is amazing that there are still many more with fantastic stories to tell about the volunteer charity work they do while taking a break from their day to day routine, the challenge of owning their own practice, the enjoyment they find in their own niche in areas of medicine as diverse as circumcision and aviation, but often in teaching and education. GP Club always includes some brief but enjoyable hands on clinical skills training opportunities related to the medical curriculum and delivered by experienced GP educators, which may not be taught in the same way during the program. The topics this year included Paediatrics, Cardiology, Suturing, Procedural Sedation, Dermatoscopy and Musculoskeletal examination. Planning these activities is quite time consuming and it can only be achieved successfully with the commitment of a leading tutor. We are very grateful to all the GPs and registrars who have given up their evenings to teach you skills this year. The most recent event held in August was the annual Charity event that raised awareness and $400 to be shared among four charities supported by the work of local GPs:,, www.msf., There are so many opportunities for ev-

eryone to choose to do some very valuable and rewarding work for charity during their careers. We hope you do too.

GP Training - Valley to Coast are pleased to present prizes to students for GP related assessments: • Year 3 MEDI3017 - for best case reports. • Year 3 MEDI3018 – for photographs related to their GP placement. • Year 5 Primary Health Care Selective - for the best GP based journal . We enjoy sponsoring the Joint Medical Program Graduation Ball and the University of Newcastle Medical Society, the WakeUp Global Health Group, as well as working with the General Practice Students Network (GPSN).

Best wishes for the conclusion of your studies this year. Study hard but find time to relax too. Lastly, and most importantly, thank you to all those students who attended GP Club this year. With your constructive criticism, we can improve.

If you would like to have your say about GP Club events in 2014, what we should showcase, how we should run the events or promote them, please email You can already register for 2014 at www. by choosing the GP Club page from the Medical Students/JMO tab on the left hand side then clicking to RSVP.



By Jillian Neve

It is safe to assume that, as a medical student, you have watched (if not religiously or to any kind of completion), at least one television show that deals with doctors, hospitals, or something to do with medicine. It is easy enough to understand why the setting of a hospital and the characters of doctors have generated so much focus in books, films and, more recently in TV program, be it sitcoms, dramas, documentaries, and now, even “reality” television.

Firstly, doctors tend to have strong, unique personalities and deal with the stresses and challenges of their jobs in varied ways. Considered in society to be something special, the mystery associated with their apparent power over life and death makes for good characters. Secondly, the environment of a hospital is something like a polygamous wet dream for both the writer and producer: a consistent group of characters for the audience to grow attached to, a rapidly and conveniently changing cast of patients present for no more than an hour or two of screen time and, far more logistically fantastic, it all takes place within the confines of a hospital, cutting location and set-building costs to a fraction of what other productions require. However, despite these seemingly specific and narrow parameters, a production can choose to take on stories from a huge variety of angles, be it high-tension drama, slapstic comedy or reality television.



If you are still not satisfied that medical television shows are, indeed, incredibly successful and popular, you need not look far. All of us will have at least one semester’s worth of PBL tutorials with an avid House MD fan who can, for every PBL and almost every disease, recall how “it’s like that one time in House, when…(insert unrealistic and extremely rare manifestation happening to an attractive patient)”.

Television references are everywhere we turn in this course, coming from our lecturers, our tutors and our peers. Among the favourites are obviously Fox’s House MD, the eternally hilarious Scrubs, ER (now fairly outdated) and Grey’s Anatomy. Together these programs provide us with a well-rounded weekly dose of obscure conditions, giggles, high-tension patient resuscitations and a lot of steamy sex on examination couches. What seems to be the “next thing” in medically-driven entertainment is a new generation of television programs from across the pond. The Brits have stepped out from behind from their dominating Doctor with several new shows about a different kind of doctor to Dr Who. While wildly popular in the United Kingdom, the cult hit Green Wing has been compared to ABC’s Scrubs and the drama Monroe have not yet taken off in Australia.

Exams are still a while away so you won’t feel too guilty about checking out th-ese fresh new shows. DUCTUS gives you its own run-down of the Brit’s answer to America’s shows.


Similar Scrubs in its comedy, this Channel 4 show began in 2004 and ran for a total of two seasons, until 2006. Both shows are set in the whole hospital, revolving not only around doctors and the medical team. All departments of Green Wing’s East Hampton Hospital are represented, from surgeons, human resources, administration, IT guys, radiologists, students and nurses.

However, where Scrubs is slapstick and revolves mainly around JD’s daydreams, Green Wing uses the existent and realistic banter and tensions between members of hospital staff. Just about every stereotype we are told to rise above in medical school are exaggerated and made into caricatures.

The show makes no attempt to establish or follow any medical storylines, so if you’re looking to learn something, even by osmosis, you will only be learning how to add chaos to an already dysfunctional workplace.


BBC’s Bodies embodies British Drama like no other, and not drama in the style of Grey’s Anatomy (of doctors making out in the janitor’s closet, love heptagons the likes).

All of the characters are hilarious, but some of the funniest include: • •

Guy Secretan, a half-Swiss, arrogant womaniser who works as an anaesthetist.

Alan Statham, an (according to Wikipedia) pompous, stuttering, kinky and extremely odd consultant radiologist. He is completely besotten with Joana Clore, the real-life and highly sexually-charged version of The Emperor’s New Groove Yzma, usually to be found in the HR department. Sue White, the hospital’s bitter Staff Liason Officer who makes it her job to torture her colleagues with outrageous demands and behaviour that could only be expected from a cruel lunatic. Finding it hard to picture such a being? Wearing elongated false arms, riding a camel around her office, dressing like a squirrel and refusing to speak any language other than “crow” are just four of her innumerably bizarre and inexplicable mannerisms.


House MD had it all: a genius yet completely misanthropic doctor, an attractive background cast, enough ongoing plot to keep you wanting more, bizarre and often entirely unrealistic diseases and their presentation/investigation/diagnosis/management all fitting neatly into a one-hour episode.

The program was successful because, for once, the main character was inherently flawed to the point of generating real dislike within the audience. In fact, over the eight seasons, the viewer’s attitude towards him was divided between sympathy (he is, after all, a drug addict) for 10% of the time, admiration at his amazing ability to pick up entirely obscure and statistically nigh impossible diseases for 30%, with the remaining 60% of the time spent with a mixture of disgust and loathing. Monroe follows a similar theme-a genius neurosurgeon with dysfunctional relationships-with one distinct difference: Gabriel Monroe is not a dick! Sure, he messes up and can be a selfish bastard, but what doctor isn’t. He provides a more positive (and realistic) model for us as future doctors to base ourselves on. If Gregory House is the lazy and arrogant tutor you had for professional skills at hospital one semester, Monroe is the awesome doctor that let you scrub in as a first year and whose bedside manner reassured you that yes, there is such thing as a nice surgeon. If what they say is true and television really does brainwash us, then I would much rather be brainwashed into an effective communicator than a total wanker.

It involves the Dr Lake, a specialist registrar in O&G at the start of a new post at the South Central Infirmary under the guidance of a consultant obstetrician Dr Hurley. The plot follows Lake finding out and struggling with the realisations of Dr Hurley’s many incompetencies in O&G, which has gone as far as resulting in brain damage and patient deaths.

To be a whistle blower, or not to be - that is the question. The series centres the struggles a junior doctor faces put in a tough, but realistic medical situation, especially tough since it involves someone else’s career. To sum things up, if you were in Lake’s shoes, what would you do? BAM. Bodies has many accolades in the British TV industry, and it is not rocket science to understand why or how it has come to critical success. Despite only being 17 episodes long, it sucks you in into a realistic world of surgery - from the show’s non-censored and gruesome graphic scenes in the OT, to it the realistic dilemmas that we can all relate to as doctors-in-training, those that sends chills down our spine a la sitting through a mentally tevoking Charles Douglas lecture. On top of that, the series finale of Bodies is one that ends with a bang and one that leaves that raw taste in your mouth for days, weeks and months. And as a consolation, its 17 episode length makes Bodies perfect for some procrasti-TVwatching and some I’ll-do-PBL-after-an-episode.



By James Wayte

As a student I am privileged to be enrolled at an Australian University. With Universities in Australia consistently ranked alongside the best in the world, they are quite literally building the future of this country. Being at University should be one of the best times in a young person’s life, surrounded by intelligent and enthusiastic people with boundless potential. However I constantly see an undercurrent of depression and anxiety that is rarely talked about, something that could very well be undermining the future of Australia. On one hand I see people who lose interest in their studies, slowly withdraw from social interactions and slip further and further into a depressive state. On the other hand there are people that worry and stress to the extent that they are all but debilitated by anxiety. In any one University I am sure the full spectrum of mental health disorders can be found. Statistics show that one in every four young people (that is to say over 250 000 Australian students) currently suffer from a mental health illness. If nothing else, this burden is predicted to cost the Australian economy over 3 billion dollars per year in medical expenses and lost productivity.

What worries me far more than the economic cost to our society is the current trend of resistance in seeking support through the course of someone’s mental illness. If you were to break an arm, you would have seen a doctor by the end of the day, yet only 23% of people with a mental health disorder have accessed health services in the last 12 months. It is difficult to comprehend that people can be so reluctant to seek mental and emotional support; after all our brain is the most valuable asset we have. I have close friends with depression and anxiety. I am still trying to convince them that seeing a doctor, far from being a sign of weakness, is the first step on the road to recovery. It has been well document-

ed that the most successful recoveries come from early intervention. Seeking support is therefore the most positive action that a person affected by mental illness can take. As a future health professional I see youth mental health as one of the most serious issues that Australia will face in the years to come. So what can we do to help?

I am lucky enough to be involved in a project being run by the Australian Medical Students Association aiming to contribute our small part to the solution. With events tied in to “R U OK?” Day and World Mental Health Day, we hope to spark conversation about mental health and break down the stigma that surrounds it. If our work causes just one person to be empowered to get the support that they need, I for one will feel like it has been a success.

What we really need is for each and every individual to take it upon themselves to play a part in solving this issue. When was the last time that you sat down with a close friend and found out how they are really doing? When was the last time you supported a colleague in going to the doctor to have a chat about their overall wellbeing? It is only by working together in this and supporting those closest to us that we can begin to solve this growing problem and ensure a better future for Australia.

Besides his numerous involvement in various student societies at Newcastle, James is also currently serving as the Publicity Officer to AMSA’s National Student Mental Health Campaign - watch this space!



By Tasha Patel & Amanda de Silva

#thinkofthekids was trending on the MedSoc radar as UNMSCharity held its annual Charity Week, continuing to support Hunter charity Leap Frog: Fair Go For Kids.

Spirits were high and respiratory rates were higher as we kicked off Charity Week with the iconic 14km City2Surf run. 25 gutsy runners put in their best efforts on a glorious, sunny day in Sydney to run from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach. Weeks of training sessions with Leo, our personal trainer, undoubtedly made the run that little bit easier. The best part of the run was, of course, the end, where our amazing team chilled out and scoffed some Subway in the sunshine. Thanks to the incredible efforts of our runners, we managed to beat our fundraising goal of $1000 with one of the best UNMS City2Surfs to date! After that ridiculous amount of exercise, it was only fair to treat our runners and their amazing supporters with some well-earned delicious sweet treats at the Charity Bake Sale, held once again outside HB15. We had a fantastic array of baked goods on the day, all of which were made by our brilliant UNMS bakers. It was bad enough Amanda had to resist buying half the table as she manned the stall with the help of the amazing 2013 Charity Subcommittee volunteers, but she even had to send for extra batches of food because we came too close to selling out far too early in the day (a big shout out to Grace Segal who baked that delicious batch of emergency brownies for us! Needless to say, the thought of freshly baked brownies was enough to send people crazy as they bought them by the bag!)



Now as we all know, the key to anyone’s heart is through their stomach, and this is particularly pertinent to us med students who spend the majority of our Wednesdays either in PBL, at Huxley library or in HB15. So, in keeping with tradition and keeping with the scrumptious food, we put on an International

Food Stall. We mixed things up a little bit this year, and set up in front of NUSA to try and get a bigger variety of people. Safe to say, it doesn’t matter where you put a stall that sells homemade curry, it’ll sell out regardless!

The event we were all waiting for, UV Glow Party, provided a great way to end Charity Week. Drinks and glow paint were flowing as we partied, but somehow also did good for our community in doing so! Win! Yasmin Salleh was in her best menace mood as the “no paint throwing” rule was thrown out the window, crowning her “most covered in paint” by the end of the night. A great night, with fun times for all (except maybe the staff at King St. Sorry).

Both of us want to thank every single person who helped us throughout the week, whether it was with promo, baking, cooking or manpower. We really couldn’t have done it without you! A massive shout out to our wonderful housemates too, for donating their time and cars and for putting up with lots of charity clutter around the house!! #thinkofthekids #charityout

xoxo, Amanda and Tash f

Visit au/ for more info on this amazing organisation and all the work that they do for children in need.

Photos by Nas Abdul

Charity UV Party



By Ductus Doctor

I think my boyfriend is cheating on me. I’ve always kept a fairly close eye on him and he’s been acting really distant lately. Like sometimes he takes age to reply to my messages/voicemails/skype video messages/snapchats/iChat/ texts/Farmville gifts/pokes/ tweets/ instagram hashtagging/status updates with him tagged etc. How can I find out if there’s someone else?

Oh you poor thing, it is a tough thing today when your expressions of devotion are not met with a retweet/like/comment/share/reply/gift/poke/ and,or hashtags etc. etc. within the standard three-minute phone-checking interval. It sounds like you’re going through a hard time. The uncertainty! What is on his mind? Where is he? Who is he with? (Taken from Facebook’s invitation to write a status update: recently transformed into another overbearing girlfriend) But never fear, there are plenty of ways you can find out. The best would be to casually suggest to your boyfriend that, as a sign of trust, you should exchange all your passwords to allow for total transparency in the relationship. Before this point, delete all the naked selfies you sent to that drug dealer-type on college in exchange for Ritalin that time during StuVac.

Alternatively, you could suggest deleting both your Facebook accounts (keep yours, for obvious reasons) and creating a combined Profile account. Maybe create a shared bank account too while you’re at it. If he refuses or shows hesitation about any of these suggestions, he’s definitely cheating on you. It’s always been a fantasy of mine to jack off in a cinema. The mixture of sexual desire and the chance of getting caught is such a turn on! However, is it legal? And is it normal to do things like this?



Dear creepy cinema masturbator. The fact that you’ve come up with this idea, and that you are turned on by the thought of pleasuring yourself in a cinema theatre is something I can understand. You are definitely not the only person, who has “serviced” themselves in public. There are far worse places to do it, such as on airplanes under a shitty synthetic blanket (you know who you are). In fact, many young men actually make a sort of competition out of “it”: blowing a load in the most inappropriate and risky settings possible. The location of choice, i.e. the cinema, is also understandable. People bang there all the time! There is something totally sexy about the dim, flickering light, the comfortable chairs, stimulating images on the screen, Dolby Digital Surround Sound sending vibrations up through the floor and the constant exhilaration that comes with the possibility of getting caught doing something that doesn’t really belong in public places.

The legal situation is slightly complicated. If you masturbate with the intention, that others in the cinema see you in all your glory, it is an act of exhibitionism. Depending on what the court can prove, and the nature of the charges, the act constitutes one of “indecent exposure” as defined in the NSW Crimes Act 1990-Sect 393. If indecent exposure is not enough, you could then be charged with “offensive conduct” as defined in the NSW SUMMARY OFFENCES ACT 1998-Sect 4. The maximum penalties for these convictions are a year or three months of imprisonment, respectively. Presuming you do manage to get yourself off, any bodily fluid that may or may not end up on said comfortable chairs could constitute property damage, as stipulated in the NSW Crimes Act 1990-Sect 195. That could see you being locked up for anything up to 12 years. If jerking off in front of strangers is something you’re into, you might not find prison so bad.

However, not only would a jail term be a serious set-back in your 10-year-med-school plan, it would also very probably limit your Clinconnect compliance prospects. Awkies! Ductus Doctor advises you to find yourself a sex cinema, where getting off is the point! (Try Gigi’s Gentleman’s Club on Hunter Street in the city.) 0487355288 A few weeks ago, I met this totally amazing guy. Since then, I messaged him once and we had a brief exchange of messages. Since then though, nothing has happened… Should I initiate contact with him again, or is that too clingy? Help me Ductus Doctor!

Ah the eternal dilemma faced by women following a neutral post-meeting exchange. It’s a tough one, since you really do not know much about him. At least, you have not told me much. The “I met” part of the story and the “brief exchange of messages” are the clinchers. Firstly, the manner in which you met this guy is pretty important. Setting and nature of the befriending can be really telling as to the future of this. What I’m trying to say is this: did you snog him at a seedy King Street party in front of everyone, or was it more of a friend-of-a-friend-at-a-chilled-outwinter-BBQ-and-he-gave-you-hislast-chicken-satay-skewer kind of thing? That should give you a clue… You are obviously hot for this dude, and from the tone of your question, it doesn’t sound like you just want to bone him. A relationship might be what you are interested in but I highly doubt that he knows that. For sure, the fact that you messaged him first is a pretty obvious sign but he may be a bit of a slowcoach in that regard. He doesn’t seem to be all that enthusiastic about you but how can you know? The way I, as Ductus Doctor see it, you don’t really have anything to lose by messaging him and trying to gauge the mood. There are only four real outcomes, and none of them are all that bad when you think about it:



3. 4.

He agrees to meet you, is the perfect gentleman (his previous radio silence explained by the fact that, in the daze following meeting you he lost his phone and forgot his Facebook password-every moment spent longing for, pining over or wanking to you) and you live happily ever after. He agrees to meet you, you get a massive girl boner and can’t keep it in your pants so end up escalating quickly through the bases in the back bathroom of Guzmann y Gomez, finding out the hard way how extra-hot sauce is not the best choice in all scenarios. He thinks you’re a total clingy freak and gets a restraining order set on you. He never replies.

In the end, no harm done. The ship may sail happily into the harbour, it might sail on, but there are always plenty more fish in the sea. Dear Ductus Doctor, I just found out from a well-meaning friend that my boyfriend has been moaning to his friends, calling me a nymphomaniac. We used to be all over each other, once we even had sex in the disabled toilets of John Hunter Hospital, not to mention the numerous wristies downstairs in Huxley… But whenever I want to have sex, he gets a “headache” or plain doesn’t want to. It’s now been weeks since we’ve had sex. I really don’t know what to do. When I try to talk to him, he shuts me out and reaches for his phone. What the hell is wrong with him? From confused and horny.

Dear Sandra. Whatever is making your boyfriend suddenly not like you anymore is something you are going to have to find out yourself. That he “shuts down” on you and resists your attempts at discussion makes me think that he finds the reason embarrassing and is consequently unable to open up to you.

So a serious conversation is what I am doctor prescribing. I suggest doing this in a rational and sensible way, namely not while naked or engaging in any other kind of seduction technique. There are plenty of explanations for a total loss of libido. DiagnosisPro ® suggests the following and I advise you to pursue the following possibilities: • Castration (not something commonly seen here in Newcastle and equally, not something that would pass unnoticed by you). • •

Depression (possible, even likely, and not to be underestimated)

Exhaustion/Overwork (maybe you really are just too extreme a sexual partner. Think back: any excessive injuries? Carpet burn? Scratching that draws blood? Hair pulling? Biting of any skin-breaking kind?) Hypogonadism (not as extreme as it sounds and quite easily solved: try stealing some testosterone from the hospital, it can be delivered in loads of convenient ways, such as via injection, patch, a gel or even a cheeky little wad of something that you could stash in his cheek-geddit pun-without him noticing)

Drug use (maybe he is roofie-ing himself. Alcohol could be the cause, as well as herbal ecstasy and a number of other illicit substances like cocaine, smack, Molly, marijuana etc…)

Alternatively, he’s just gone a bit off you and doesn’t like you anymore. I hate to say it but I am sure it has crossed your mind-maybe there is someone else he is banging on the side. Either way, communication is really the only way you can work this out. Don’t get other people (i.e. his friends) involved and get to the bottom of it with him. He can talk to you about it, he can start satisfying you again or you can go your separate ways. Tell him the decision is his.



By Professor Passion

I lost my heart to a medical student Head over heels and it wasn’t prudent. We spent eight weeks in clinical bliss But now our love’s lost in the abyss. For I am from Newcastle, far in Australia And he lives in Finland Our love nought but failure. From Leslie

For this question, Ductus Doctor had to refer her patient on, to her male counterpart, Professor Passion. He is a known by many for his experience and wisdom in matters of the heart and relationships. From ‘hello’ to his bed in an average of 9.8 seconds, the Professor is a self-professed PUA (Pick Up Artist) who has behind him a string of successful relationships (albeit with varying levels of commitment and fidelity). The Professor currently works full time as a cardiology registrar based in Sydney. In his spare time, he enjoys fencing and seducing women of all descriptions. While his advice is not rendered lightly (he prefers to keep his secrets to himself), the following question struck a chord in his own highly tuned heart and he generously agreed to construct a management plan for all those broken post-placement hearts.

Professor Passion says:

I’d like to begin by addressing this obviously distressed damsel’s immediate concerns. So Leslie, slowly, slowly! Keep chatting to each other. If, in four months time, you are still madly in love with him, then you can go for a visit! Most of my holiday romances have ended bittersweetly after a short time. And those were with us still living in the same hemisphere. They were best left at that. Eight weeks is generally not enough time to get to know someone, much less to begin a long distance relationship (LDR), one that will most likely dwindle in intensity until the person disappears from that top bit of your Facebook chat frequent friend list.



You should rejoice in those fond memories. After all, you had a great

time eating Kalakukko with some Viking hunk and spending nights with your face buried among his presumably blonde pubes. I think it is time to accept that long distance relationships are tiring, and usually only work when time spent apart<time spent together in the first place.

If I were more cynical, I would point out that LDRs are basically all the rubbish parts of a relationship (commitment, guilt, whippedness) without any of the good bits (company, cuddles, coitus). If my bitterness continued, I would remind you that while distance makes the heart grow fonder, that statement usually only rings true in the case of people who thoroughly dislike each other, in whose case the separation not only does them good by keeping them apart but also prevents the recurrence of DV (domestic violence) admissions. It’s lucky that I’m not bitter.

However, with ever increasing numbers of JMP students currently going the distance (albeit with more manageable hundreds of kilometers’ separation) I’m not going to jinx anything. So I’ve passed on my advice to those already way deep in the throes of long-distance love. Now it’s time for some more primary and preventative care: Ideally, we’re going to prevent intercontinental heartache from happening in the first place! Now never fear, all hope of some fervent lovemaking under foreign skies is not lost. There are some basic things you can do to avoid any potentially catastrophic consequences.

Know your time frame:

Most of these situations have an associated expiration date. If you are clever, and really want the full-on exclusive and committed experience, you can fit several years’ worth of relationship ups and downs into just about any period of time! The awkward “first few dates” stage can be compacted into one or two exchanged glances in the students’

quarters or your backpackers. Maybe you will help each other lug groceries up the stairs. Or you will tackle the scorpions in the toilet block together. You can then spend the next few hours to days “seeing” the other person: slowly getting closer while still able to cut them loose should a better offer come along. There are obviously variations from fling to fling but a rough gauge is, two nights in the same bed/hammock/sleeping bag twice and you’re going steady.

Stay on your guard, if you want to escape unscathed: Many a promis-

ing student has spent a semester or two away from the protectively unattractive BMed Newcastle cohort and been caught unaware by love. Love arrives sometimes in the glamorous form of a leggy Norwegian paralegal or a distinguished Nottingham public school Brit, but also can take one by surprise as a Pharmacy student from Monash with a few decidedly wrong ideas about fashion, or even a podgy Scot compensating for his seedy mo with his incomprehensible accent. So if you start to notice your seedy evenings at the local foreign/ student hangout ending in a shag more often than not, it’s important you pick up on it fast. A buddy is recommended to keep tabs on this kind of behaviour. This system usually works until one of you comes down with food poisoning after a particularly nasty masala dosa or, as is more likely, you slip up and sleep with someone.

Don’t forget the original reason you came: While placements have a

reputation of being a bit of a doddle, and are more of an excuse for a holiday carrying with them little actual expectation of work, don’t be the person who failed the easiest weeks of med school. Bludging too much during GP placement is really not worth it, when the consequence involves repeating the first semester of third year. The same thing goes for HES-“my Mongolian yurt didn’t have Wifi” is just not a passable excuse for not handing in your report anymore. Fourth and fifth year offer more extend-

ed placements, which carry with them greater risk of developing a debilitating heartbreak upon your return. So stay alert!

Respect your neighbours:

Seldom does one go on a placement without knowing at least one other person. Health professionals know health professionals, and while we medical students like to think of ourselves as a superior breed, you will invariably know someone who knows someone back home. If you’d rather that knowledge of your placement pick-up remains where it started, discretion is advised. In the end, it is also in your best interest. By all means, spend time with your special friend, but don’t do so at the expense of meeting other people or exploring the place you are visiting. And if your own selfishness is not reason enough, think of the poor soul in your dorm room on the top bunk.

Master the goodbye: Are you both

leaving at the same time? Is one of you staying behind for longer to complete the placement? Are you going straight home? Or is someone heading off to further adventures? Is your paramour actually from the place you did your placement? All of these factors have to be taken into consideration when it comes to D-Day. The farewells are generally conducted most safely at a point of departure such as a busstop, airport, jetty or train station. Do not plan to spend too much time at the gate/platform/shelter because it can get awkward and emotional, even causing impulsive and eventually disastrous decisions (like “oh I’ll just stay/run away with you/drop out/let you smuggle me across the border”) to be made.

Move on up: Your belle/beau leaves

you alone in the Favela, vanishing as quickly as she/he came. You head off on Safari through Tanzania, or on home to face the jetlag and disillusionment that is Newcastle nightlife. However it happens, you end up alone, and without even the phone number they use back wherever home is. It sounds brutal and there’s no way to

sugar coat it. But as your tan fades or your dry winter-skin is exfoliated off, so too will your yearnings for Zach the Canadian or Fernanda the Spanish goddess. Many of the best have been floored by an international love affair. All that really matters, however, is that you eventually stop playing “Payphone” and hanging back as “appear offline” on Skype, just hoping that they’ll come on without knowing that you have actually adjusted your body clock so that you’ll be awake when they are most likely to log on. Obviously there are a few more obvious pieces of advice that we did not mention. Although DUCTUS takes no responsibility for the actions of the medical students it entertains and informs, we want our readers to play it safe. We especially want all you third years to make it back from HES. So the basics also include: • Use protection. You don’t want to be bringing back home any funky growths on your favourite bits and pieces and unless you plan on sending/receiving a baby photo in the mail in a few months, wrap it up. •

Drink and drugs are different all over the world. You may think you know your limits, but it might take you a while to get used to the French absinthe or Tamworth moonshine. Also, drink spikers are an international scourge of putrid lurkers who wont discriminate, in neither their choice of haunt nor target.

If overseas, it’s important to respect the rules (both legal and traditional) of the country. There’s not much that puts more of a downer on a tropical holiday than getting busted mid-bang on the beach and sleeping in a gaol cell until the nearest Australian embassy manages to bail yet more of their dumbshit tourists out.

On that positive note, Professor Passion out!




By Lachlan Gan

It was a Saturday afternoon and the weather was grey and ugly. Fat booming clouds rolled like icebergs over Merewether and the rich smell of impending rain sat heavily on the rising wind. Thank goodness the surf was small, almost completely flat and very clean too, because I was out in the water with my friends Nathan and Stoj, both of whom were using stand-up paddleboards and gliding across the gentle swell with great speed. I was testing out my new board – a huge, finely crafted epoxy 7’6 McTavish with a neat orange/ navy blue tail and a high polish that I had won earlier that week in a raffle to save the people of Southern Asia from the ravages of antibiotic resistant tuberculosis, a vicious disease that, unlike the typical consumption, squats deep in the alveolar sacs where neither drugs nor divine intervention can dig it out; stuck with organic cement like a barnacle oyster, or some other scallopy thing. The ticket had cost me two dollars, and I had felt extremely weird about collecting…afterall, how often is it you stride into an unknown persons house, snatch your prize and stroll out again with over a thousand dollars of superbly crafted foam under your arm, with no more than a ‘hi’ and a ‘thanks’? My guess is very rarely, unless you are one of the UoN’s very own ninja bike thieves; a strange and crafty bunch, whose talents are feared and reached a comedic peak when they, upon encountering Patty Fitz’s bike chained firmly to a small gum, simply tore the tree out of the ground with brute superhuman strength and rode away laughing.



The board paddled very well, being much bigger, heavier and more serious than the ones I normally ride. However, I had only caught one wave before Nathan and Stoj, bored with the small surf, swooped over and viciously attacked me. Standup paddleboarders use long carbon fibre paddles with sharp sculpted

blades, and these may as well have been razor katanas when swung from a good height. Stoj jumped into the water and began to wrestle my board off me, while Nathan stealthily untied my leg rope and began to propel my board far out towards the coal ships. I tried to swim away but Stoj had superior bulk and muscle on his side. He pulled me under and kept me there for a lengthy period of time, shouting over and over ‘A good drowning is what you need!’ until he decided my flailings were satisfactorily urgent. Upon my breaching the surface he splashed water into my desperate gasping mouth (haha) causing me to choke and cough terribly. By the time my lungs cleared, both he and Nathan had made it back to shore and were sitting on the sand, with their peals of laughter drifting off on the rising wind. I looked with despair out to where I had last seen my board. It was very, very far away. Soon it would be crushed under the great red and black hulls of those monstrous ships perpetually lining Newcastle’s horizons and the destroyed foam would bounce in the wake as they cruised slowly into the harbour, where surfers and body boarders are dashed to death on a regular basis against the terrible rocks and boulders of the breakwall. The wind was fully up now, and the sun had set down behind the storm.

In the thickening darkness, I began to swim with a tired and heavy heart – my sore arms stroked the water surface almost gently, the water whose surface lay flat and curved and draped over the corrugated sand below - a reassuring blanket in which my feet behind me kicked up small bubbles that soon rose and merged and mingled with the quiet ones stirred up by the rain.

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013 was once again an eventful year for UNMS. What is a good year, if it weren’t for the good memories that came with it? We present you the MedSoc Yearbook, our attempt at piecing a the year one memory at a time.

aMSA First Council - 1st to 3rd March


epresentatives from all 20 Medical School in Australia meet 3 times a year to inform, represent, connect. Issues are discussed that effect all 17, 000 medical students and policy’s are developed to form the basis of AMSA’s advocacy. March Council was the first of 2013.

OCamp - 15th to 17th March


nd so, the partying networking opportunities carried over from First Incision to O’Camp - the biggest medical student event to ever hit Port Macquarie (#assumptivefact) It was great getting to know you first years. And it was great seeing you first years get to know one another! Highlights: 1. Activites - from challenge day to beach chill sesh, it was perfect atmosphere to make new friends. 2. Boat races - just getting into the UNE-UoN spirit. 3. Mentors looking hawt in hot p!nk.

4th and 5th year meet and greet - 25tH January


ing St Hotel, subsidised drinks (at the start of the night anyway) and good company. Plus, it’s one of the only times in 4th and 5th year when everyone is together in one place, before parting separate ways to the different clinical schools. Not a bad start to the year. First Year's First Day of Medicine - 4th March


elcome to Medicine first years! UNMS talks about getting involved, our events and our sponsors. But the most important part of the day? Free pizza.



ike all years, UNMS started its events calendar with First Incision. A Cocktail Party where first years get introduced to a world outside Oxford and Guyton - a world of cheap wine and good nights out. Highlights: 1. Drunk James Wayte updating everyone on the status of the bar tab. 2. “Primary school disco” lights and DJ. 3. Teeni telling Lachlan Gan she hates him.

Charity Trivia Night - 26th March International First YEars Welcome - 26tH tMarch


elcome to Newcastle international first years! A simple get together, where food was abundant and advice of all sorts was aplenty.

Highlights: 1. Lots of yummy food. 2. Great company. Thanks to the seniors for their presence & tips on how to survive med school! 3. Fun times. What more can you ask?


hilled, fun night to get competitive with our fellow med students and raise money for Fair Go For Kids. A great night to get the new year started for Charity!

Highlights: 1. Elias vs Lawler in who can win the trivia stakes (Elias’ team won..not sure how much help he was though). 2. Handing over the cheque for last year’s fundraising of over $5000 to Fair Go For Kids. 3. Alex Tridgwells blazer swag

Beach Sports Day - 28th MArch


each Sports Day was a great Inaugural success! We had a huge turnout and have aquired Steve Hurwitz’s thongs as permanent reminder and trophy.

NSWMSC 1st Council and Cocktail Party - 6th April


he New South Wales Medical Student Council is a state-based student organisation that aims to represent the medical students of NSW, especially in those concerning NSW-specific issues. The NSWMSC meets for councils, and they organise mad events like cocktail parties and the famous NSW Sports Day.

The Pub Waking Dead- 10th April


he first Pub Crawl of the year takes on the fancy theme of Zombies vs Zombie Killer. Besides leaving trails and fake blood everywhere, the night was made complete with A Current Affair having a big night out in Newy looking for some story to over-dramaticise. Highlights: 1. Drunk Alex Scott updating everyone on the status of the bar tab 2. ACA filming that first year chick getting into an ambulance 3. Alex Dennis, first aid extraordinaire

Colour run for charity - 5th May


true fun run of 5 kilometres, held at the Broadmeadow Racecourse and filled with mountains of coloured powder! A colourful day with colourful people in support of Leap Frog! Basically just a giant joy-filled day of happiness, running and colour-moshing afterwards!

The Great Debate - 9th May


linicians and students battled it out over three debates. There was lots of delicious food, and a whole lot of banter!

Highlights: 1. Charlton freaking everyone out when he started yelling at the audience. 2. Nerida owning Tahl and then Lawler talking about Nerida’s boobies. 3. Dr Shah being generally hilarious and Elias rhyming his entire debate!

OSCEs NIGHT - 22nd May


eople touched people. And no one called the Police this time! A great help to 3rd years, who were going to do their first ‘real’ OSCEs ever. Doctors helping out as examiners seemed to have a great time, and feedback from students was that it was a really helpful night! AMsa's Second Council - 2nd to 5th July

Highlights: 1. Ben Hardy proved why he makes a fantastic UNMS Proxy President 2. NSW was the 2013 Executive (meaning they ran council + the famous Steve Hurwitz and James Lawler are on it!) and NSW ran another Bid Team for 2014. 3. Lots of debate on AMSA Policy and Bid Teams. A phenomenal amount of AMSA Policy’s were discussed and passed .

MedBall - 18th May


MNS’s Inaugural MedBall - a night spent looking over the beautiful Merewether Beach while taking advantage of the amazing food, unlimited alcohol and lively dancefloor.

Highlights: 1. Everyone was looking amazing! 2. The bar tab was simply fantastic (and surprisingly, the night was still relatively chaos-free). 3. The dancefloor was probably the smallest yet most enjoyable in all of MedSoc’s history.

AMsa's Annual NLDS - 26th to 29th May


he AMSA National Leadership Development Seminar was held in Canberra, the nation’s capital. The 3 day seminar provided delegates with the opportunity to interact with a cross sectional range of politico-medical leadership figures through world-class workshops and inspirational plenaries from the best in the field. And the ever-so-keen Emma Curé was heavily involved in this national event, working as the logistics chick.

AMsa National Convention: Gold Coast - 7th to 14th July


onvention rose to even higher levels of awesome this year, by breaking world records, hymens and beer glasses whilst still managing to deliver a first class Academic Program. “If the faculty thinks that Convention doesn’t have an Academic Focus, they need to change their definition!”

Highlights from Social: 1. Someone ended up in the wrong hotel and room. They didn’t know how they got there. Neither did the family it seems. 2. The bathroom cubicles were utilized for a vast array of activities. From making the beast with two backs to napping. 3. Someone fell asleep in the back of a bus covered in black body paint and no one remembered to wake them up. It was an expensive taxi ride back from Brisbane to the Gold Coast. 4. Nas left Kim passed out on a bus and figured what’s done is done. He then ventured off to get a kebab.

Teddy Bear Hospital - 21st July


th annual UNMS teddy bear hospital- teddy repairs, check ups and x-rays as well as face painting and a charitybake sale. Plus the weather was perfect!

Highlights from Academic 5. JMP took out UNDF in Debating (easy Catholic jokes) but lost the next round to rAdelaide (what we lacked in content, we made up in sledging). 6. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an entire hall of over 1000 delegates all cry at the same time. This was the effect Phan Thi Kim Phuc had when she gave the emotional recount of her story. 7. JT CAME SECOND IN AUSTRALIA’S BRAINIEST MEDICAL STUDENT. Halfway party - 25th july


hat would you do if you weren’t in medicine? If you have a theme that vague, trust them med kids to show up in the weirdest costumes, like janitors, Bond students, pirates, crazy cat ladies, and ...bears?

Highlights: 1. Drunk James Wayte updating Alex Scott on the status of the bar tab 2. Elias + Jazmin + James hanging out with that keen as first year dude by ourselves for like two hours 3. The return of Patches the horse

Electives night- 1st August nfo on HES undertaken in third year, plus 3 student speakers who shared their experiences from their time in Broken Hill (Aus), Malawi (Africa) and Liverpool/ Norwich (UK)


Highlights: 1. Being advised that if someone steals something from you to throw a brick through their window! 2. Finding out everyone in Broken Hill has their own personal runway in their back yard. 3. Seeing photos of hospitals in Africa and post-HES travel photos of students from last year traveling around Africa and Europe.

Charity Week: City2surf - 11th August


Charity Week: Bake sale & International Food Stall 12 to 14th August

unning, or ‘running’ 14 kilometres to fund raise for LeapFrog FairGoForKids. City2Surf once again kicks off UNMS’ annual Charity Week. Besides the epic atmosphere of Sydney at its finest, the weather was perfect for a run (or ‘run). What is not to love about C2S.


Charity Week: UV Party - 16th August

NSWMSC Sports Day and charity Afterparty- 24tH tMarch



harity Week ended with the Charity UV party. With drinks and UV glow paint flowing, the night was wild to say the least. There is no better party than a party with a cause. Except a party with a cause that has UV Glow Paint - nothing can beat that.

harity Week continues by getting to people’s hearts (for a hearty donation) through their stomachs. How do you say no to cupcakes and curry? Some omnomnom fund raising indeed.

EWCASTLE WON THIS YEAR’S NSWMSC SPORTS DAY CUP! And there was a charity party after sports day, but that’s not important. WE WON SOMETHING! (lol to UNE that decided not to attend Sports Day this year as the JMP).

Proposal Week - 21st to 28th August The Wedding Pub Crawl - 28th August


he annual tradition celebrating medcest was continued - this time in Hawaiian style. Four proposals were made throughout Proposal Week, but ultimately, Toby Ranga Hunt and Waytey won the proposal competition by popular choice. A pub crawl was held to commemorate this happy occasion called marriage. Mr and Mrs Hunt, may your love be eternal.

Saving Jane Doe - 29th August


aving Jane Doe is back! Run by St John’s Ambulance, this event gives students the chance to practice their first aid skillz at rea-life simulated scenarios.

Highlights: 1. The many ‘Jane Does’ with the protruding bones. 2. The lady who lost her hand. 3. The Chinese man who would not shut up and stop panicking. Still to Come MedRevue - 7th & 8th September UNMS Elections & AGM - 1st to 5th, & 11th September AMSA GHC: Hobart - 12th to 15th September ER Party - 20th September AMSA’s Third Council - 4th to 6th November


nd that is 2013 for you. It was indeed an eventful year, but here’s to hoping 2014 will be an even better year, filled with even better events and even better memories. Maybe even better drunk stories too? Or better academic inspiring epiphanies? Okay I will stop now.

Want to contribute to the next edition of Ductus? Have a love for writing and want your works read? Simply keen to join Team Ductus? Send an email our way at! Have a question for someone on the committee? Contact them at: President


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Thinking of attending a medical conference in 2013? You may be eligible for up to $500 in assistance from UNMS. This may go towards transport, accommodation, sitting fees, and other costs. Please send an email to for funding applications or for all other enquiries or further questions about grants and funds.

Medical Specialty Stereotypes (Part 2)

Ductus 2 2013  
Ductus 2 2013