28 Jul 2022
By Dr Rachele Quested, CDT Co-Deputy Chair
On 22 July, I had the pleasure of leaving early on a Friday afternoon and stepping into a plane for the first time in forever. I relished the simple task of buying expensive, largely tasteless airport food and opening my iPad at a counter next to a check in desk. Boarding opened, only 20 minutes late, and I found my seat – in between two lovely ladies who had to help me figure out the lap seatbelt. In return, I offered then a wrapped sweet, but they rightly and politely, rejected my offer. Upon opening my iPad again and beginning a new PowerPoint, the lovely lady to my right eavesdropped and said -are you Rachele? To all of our entertainment I said yes and it turned out they were the same AMA Queensland staff I had been conversing with. Interestingly, they both then took a lolly.
The plane landed uneventfully in Cairns and our Junior Doctor Conference (JDC) adventure began. The conference brought together medical students and junior doctors with registrars, consultants, and industry partners. James Cook University (JCU) did a wonderful job of hosting us and the first day was a great success. Our fearless Chair managed to shepherd the attendees and presenters alike and kept the day moving. The sessions included an insightful look into rural emergency medicine from Dr Katrina Starmer and an invitation to look beyond the junior doctor years and learn to ask for what you want from Dr Marco Giuseppin. Plenty of breakout sessions provided attendees insight into difficult conversations, frank conversation with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and patients, as well as speed dating the specialities and some insight into how to deal with burnout. The day morphed into an evening celebration complete with bubbles, food, BMWs and some excellent fashion, held on the beautiful Cairns waterfront. I don’t know if it is wise for me to admit this – I may have enjoyed a Sunday morning sleep in with no children and no phone as much as I enjoyed the day itself.
Conferences like this one, held to provide more than just imparting knowledge, are probably more important now than ever. Conversing with our fellow doctors in person, across a range of specialties and levels of experience helps us to remember what we are trying to achieve with our medical careers. The cliché we are all in this together needs to be true. I hope all attendees grasped the concept and are reminded that the doctor as a person matters more than the working doctor. That person deserves as much care and attention as our patients. We all can help each other remember and embrace this.
Thank you so much JCU and Cairns – I look forward to seeing you all at the next JDC on the Gold Coast in October.
Published: 28 Jul 2022