Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Regional experience convinces medical graduate to return

As a medical student Debby Darmansjah got used to adapting to new environments. This year she will settle into the East Gippsland area as she commences her internship with Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS).

Constructive learning: Debby Darmansjah enjoyed her rural placements so much, she's returned to Gippsland for her internship and plans to stay.
The Indonesian-born medical graduate came to Australia at the age of 15 and spent several years boarding in Perth before moving to Melbourne to complete an undergraduate degree in biomedicine.

Upon completion of the three year degree she gained entry to the Monash graduate medical course with the first year at Monash Rural Health in Churchill. This four year course included multiple placements in the Latrobe Valley and across Gippsland.

“I think being in a rural environment really suited my personality,” Debby says now, reflecting on her time spent at Maryvale Private Hospital in Morwell, Bass Coast Health at the Wonthaggi Hospital and a lengthy stint with Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH).

“Being in these settings means there are a smaller amount of students and more opportunity for hands-on learning,” she said.

Debby’s first clinical year included placement at LRH. “This was my favourite year of all my years at medical school,” she said. “There was a small group of about 20 and we felt like a real team – I just loved everything about it, especially the clinical nurse educators who taught me; I could still remember their tutorials right through to the end of my medical studies, they were so helpful.”

As part of her course Debby also spent 12 months rotating through GP, psychiatry, women’s health and paediatric placements across Melbourne. She said the nature of the course was beneficial in “helping you adjust to new environments” but appreciated the opportunity to later return to LRH for a general medicine placement.

“I had such a great time that I really wanted to return - everything felt familiar there and I was able to pick up where I left off,” Debby said.

“I would definitely encourage other students to consider doing what I have done; in fact when I did my final year with LRH I also tutored first and second year students and I would tell them that,” she said.

Next year Debby, who thinks she may specialise in general practice after her internship, will embrace a new regional community, moving to Bairnsdale to start work with BRHS. Though she’s spent minimal time in East Gippsland so far, she is looking forward to the change, saying “I have heard so many good things about it so I am really excited.”  

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