My name is Lucille Sutanto and I am a fourth year medical student at James Cook University. As an international student who only first set foot in Australia to study medicine, I was fascinated by the cultural diversity celebrated here. James Cook University, in particular, has a keen interest and strong emphasis on rural and indigenous health.
Studying in a regional area in far North Queensland exposed me to a lifestyle very different to the one I experienced with my urban upbringing, and I surely have broaden my horizon from interacting with people from different cultures. Not only have I gained great insights for my interest, I have also found this environment particularly helpful in developing awareness and need for cultural sensitivity for future doctors who will be working with patients who may raise up challenging ethical dilemmas such as the scenario of a Jehovah’s witness refusing blood donation .
Being 2/3 of the way of a six-year program, what I have fathom of the nature of the medicine course is that the constant flooding of an overwhelming load of information meant that even the top students struggle to feel prepared for exams. There is no doubt that medicine is challenging. The first three years are pre-clinical years where students build their foundation on basic science from attending lectures and burying their heads in textbooks.
The last three years are the clinical years, where relevant knowledge from the first three years is applied to clinical practice. These last three years are vital in acquiring hands on skills and clinical reasoning that can only be learnt from practice and experience. It is only after starting clinical years that I built up the confidence and developed the vision that I am capable of being a doctor soon. I have also learnt to appreciate to work hard at the level I am currently expected and not jump ahead of myself. One advice I would like to give my junior aspiring doctors is to just take it step by step and enjoy every year as it goes with the faith that eventually it would lead towards a rewarding career.