Rahul Mohan – New South Wales

Rahul Mohan – New South Wales

“Oh you doctor next year? Good good, when you be GP I come to you” the words of Mrs G one of the elderly Italian patients at my current clinical attachment. My clinical supervisor, her GP of the last 20 years, stepped in to explain to her that I won’t be getting a job cause I am an international student. Her expression changed to confusion, she couldn’t understand it. She berated my supervisor on how he can let this happen, “I wait two days to see doctor and you let him go?”

The practice I am with is frequented by immigrants of previous generations. They came here in the 50’s and 60’s and made a life in Australia. They are amongst the generation that use medical services the most and are affected greatest by it’s shortcomings.

Mrs G is Italian born, her English is poor so it took some time to explain to her that it wasn’t her GP’s fault. It is not the first look of surprise I have seen nor will it be the last. My supervisor takes it upon himself to explain to every patient that I will likely not get a job only because I am an international. was just as affronted when I first told him, and he is passing his indignation on to his patients. The majority of whom have asked me if there is anything they can do to help me. One of them even promised to talk to Ms Skinner about it personally. Their disbelief is genuine and their concern, heartwarming.

Medicine, unfortunately, isn’t like any other degree. If you don’t get a job, you can’t simply work part time somewhere until the right opportunity comes along. Every minute spent doing something else is valuable learning experienced lost, knowledge being forgotten or becoming obsolete. Medicine can leave you behind, one or two years and the entire landscape starts to look foreign. At the end of the day, everyone wants to be treated by good competent doctors and the first step to that is completing the training to be one.

My story is echoed in the hundreds of fellow international students. We came here, away from family and friends to continue our dreams. Our dream to be a doctor and make a meaningful impact on people’s lives. The challenges in medicine are continuous and without frills from exams to assignments, projects and clinical placements. Long nights followed quickly by early mornings. In the five years of medical school, I have made many lasting relationships with my colleagues and professionals from various aspects of healthcare. The friends I had at the start are now closer to being family. Sydney has changed from a place that I came to study to a place that I now call home.

What would happen if I don’t get a place? I would have to apply elsewhere and leave the country, quite possibly for good. Australia will be stored in the part of my mind that preserves my happy thoughts, ready for recall when the going gets tough. Everyone who has ever had to move against their wishes will tell you, the “if only” will continue to haunt them. It is likely that my grandkids will get an earful of how it would have been different and how lucky there are.

For now the people like Mrs G are what keep me going, her parting words “I tell my son to speak to council”. Thus far, the Australian government has discriminated against international students, none the less, it’s the Australian people that make me want to call it home.

Rahul is a 5th year UNSW medical student who will graduate next year. The #interncrisis is going to be a long term problem, and unless a solution is found he may not have an internship in 2013. Take Action

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Medical Student Action on Training (MSAT) is a grassroots movement by Medical Students Australia wide who have united to raise awareness and demand political action be taken to solve the #interncrisis
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