Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Swan Hill-born student wins rural health award

Energetic: Jessica Paynter with her parents, Leigh and Pam, at the award night.

Monash medical student Jessica Paynter has been awarded the Medical Student Award in the Victorian Rural Health Awards for 2018.

Jessica is part of the Extended Rural Cohort stream and has undertaken much of her training in the North West of Victoria.

Having seized all the opportunities that have come her way – and created many of her own – the award is a testament to the final year student’s energetic, engaged attitude.

Those who know Jessica say she applies the same dedication and enthusiasm to all corners of her life -- study, friendships, sport, patient care, and community life. She has been an active member of WILDFIRE, the Monash rural health student club; spent time in Broome, Northern Territory through the John Flynn Placement Scholarship Program; coordinated ‘Teddy Bear Hospital’ sessions at local schools in Mildura; joined a range of sporting clubs during all of her regional and rural placements; and led a community project in Swan Hill (where she grew up).

Dr Dennis O’Connor, Academic Lead Year 4 Monash Rural Health Bendigo, nominated Jessica for the Award and said her enthusiasm for rural practice was evident in many ways.

“Where ever Jessica has undertaken clinical training placements she has shown great leadership as a student, and an impressive interest in getting involved with, and contributing to, the local community.

“Despite a very full study load when she was in Bendigo, Jess served as a representative on a range of committees, including the General Practice Student Network. In Swan Hill, she used her intimate local knowledge to lead a community engagement project.

“What has impressed us above all is that Jessica has a really deep understanding of the responsibilities and rewards of working as a doctor in a country town. She has a great passion for rural health and has used her leadership skills to make a difference. We are all very proud she’s won this award.”

Jessica is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) year and hopes to undertake an intern year in a regional setting before pursuing longer-term rural pathways.

“What I enjoy most about rural practice is the incredible diversity that exists. It’s really challenging and rewarding to see a wide array of clinical presentations and help people with a variety of injuries or illness. It’s never dull. I enjoy the rural lifestyle, particularly the close-knit community and kinship that exists within the towns that I’ve undertaken placements in.”

The Victorian Rural Health Awards honours the exceptional medical specialists, GPs, nurses, Aboriginal health workers, general practices, practice managers, allied health professionals, GP locums and medical students working across rural Victoria. The awards are supported by the Victorian Government and hosted by Rural Workforce Agency Victoria.