When teachers encouraged Mitchell and his peers to start thinking about career options, the long-time local knew he wanted a job with a science base but, importantly, one where he was working with – and helping – people. Reflecting back on his initial ambitions, Mitchell admits “it has all turned out fairly well in that regard.”
As a high school graduate, Mitchell entered the five year undergraduate medical degree at Monash University’s Clayton campus and progressed through, studying hard and undertaking a series of clinical rotations both rurally – including his fourth year at the School of Rural Health’s Traralgon site - and in Melbourne.
|Mitchell Kraan (far right) with colleagues Ken and Sandra at Latrobe Regional Hospital. Happy to be back in the Valley|
Six minutes to get to workHe says while he always harboured a “vague intention” to return and work in the Latrobe Valley, years spent negotiating traffic and living in a “shoe-box apartment” in Melbourne cemented the appeal of living in a region.
“In my first year at uni I lived six kilometres from the campus but it could still take up to 40 minutes to do that trip and eventually I thought ‘I can’t keep doing this’…now I live in Traralgon and it is six minutes door to door for me to get work,” he said.
“I really like the culture at LRH. You get to know the nurses and support personnel, and because I am from this area, I already knew some of the staff – it has a real community feel and it feels different to Monash Medical Centre or the Alfred, for example, where there are so many graduates.”
Continuity with patientsThis year Mitchell is gaining experience in paediatrics, psychiatric care, obstetrics and gynaecology to add value to the GP training he will commence next year.
Spending the fourth year of his studies at the School of Rural Healtnh and participating in the integrated GP program – through a placement at Moe Newborough Health - proved critical to Mitchell’s decision to pursue GP training.
“I had a great experience as part of this program, there was so much variety and we had a chance to have continuity with patients; we could see them over multiple episodes and really get to know them and track them,” he said.
“I did my paediatric work as a student locally and you have your tutorials run directly by consultants like [Director of Paediatrics] Dr Joseph Tam who then takes you on rounds, you have such good access…when I was in the Cabrini Hospital [in Melbourne] I could be tenth in line to see a patient.”
Time for life outside workDespite the well-known rigours of life as a junior doctor, Mitchell says living locally has helped him strike a balance between work and leisure.
Part of the Scouting community since he was a young boy, Mitchell is now with the Victorian Rover Scouts in Churchill and has held positions on the Region and State leadership teams. He is a keen participant in the Scouts’ musical theatre production, Strzelecki Showtime, and also plays indoor soccer.
“These pursuits are so different from what I do during the day and I like that,” Mitchell said. “I have friends I went to uni with who are being shuffled between city hospitals and they can forget that sort of thing, it’s too hard for them.”
A career in medicine is achievableAsked whether he would encourage other young students to consider a career in medicine, Mitchell doesn’t hesitate.
“I didn’t have a private school education and my parents weren’t doctors but I just decided that this is what will suit me and I knew I wanted to help people,” he said. “And I think you really do – especially by second year, you have a lot of patient contact and interaction and there is that real capacity to impact on people in such a positive way.”
“I am not shying away from the reality; there is a lot of paper work along the way – especially as an intern – but if you persevere, you don’t have to wait too long to really have that feeling that you are helping,” he added.