Sana Jesudason – New South Wales

Sana Jesudason – New South Wales

There are two reasons it took me this long to post this up, when Lord only knows I’ve been complaining for a long time.

Firstly, I’m about as comfortable with technology as a monkey is with calculus. I literally had to ask a friend to walk me through how to navigate this site, clicky by clicky.

Secondly, every time I try to contemplate a future anywhere but here, it makes me really nervous and upset, and I place it squarely in the Too Hard basket.

See, this is what happens when you’re a third culture kid who becomes attached.

You’ve heard of us, haven’t you? Those of us born somewhere, raised somewhere different, and often living yet another somewhere. I was born to Indian parents in Ireland, raised in Canada, Malaysia and Brunei, and as proof that God has a sense of humour, have ended up squarely in Taree, NSW, where the PARTY.IS.AT, amirite?!

What’s an even bigger joke, is that despite finishing high school in Australia, being the daughter of two Area-of-Need specialists (we just finished paying off our house), having an Australian degree (well, in a year, anyway), a 2-year rural placement (that I not only chose but had to fight for) and an overwhelming desire to be a rural GP, I am still considered “International”. Because of a goddamn series of technicalities.

I’m a little different to your typical International student, if you haven’t already guessed. Because the last two paragraphs illustrate a paradox: Captain International vs. Local Yokel.

Like all the rest of us, it took me awhile. Australia took me awhile. I wasn’t used to your language (WHAT is a u-ey and WHY would I chuck one?! NO COMPRENDE.), I wasn’t used to awful uncomfortable thongs and awful comfortable Ugg-Croc hybrids, I wasn’t used to perennial sunshine and freezing rain, I wasn’t used to barbies or snags or potato pies. And alcohol terrified me. But as Alanis Morissette sang in Angry Song #7, “you’ve already won me ohhh-vaaah, in spite of me.” In spite of my homesickness, cynicism and distrust (where I’m from, you DO NOT just randomly smile at people you don’t know unless you’re trying to steal something). You won me over, Australia, you won me over something fierce. And nothing made me happier than realizing that This Was It for me. That the moving and uprooting was over, because I’d found home. Placement after placement would reinstate how much I loved this country.

You know that feeling, when you’re so excited about the future that you don’t really care about the present? That’s how medicine makes me feel.

I love Australia. And I want to stay here so very, very badly.

But let’s call a spade a spade: we’re being treated like we just don’t matter. If not out-and-out disdain, with at least a disrespect and disregard that breaks my heart.

We, the 182? We have degrees from YOUR country, not ours. We’ve learned skills in YOUR hospitals, not ours. Ischaemic heart disease kills our patients, not malaria. We’ve watched Ethel, Maud and Daphne battle polypharmacy, Falls-in-the-Elderly and being ignored in ED. We’ve come home after Palliative Care terms and wept quietly to our parents. (In India, by the way, palliative care doesn’t really…..exist. At least not to anywhere near the level it does here).

I have no idea how the health system in Ireland operates, and I’ll have to go there if Australia won’t have me.

Australia, please have me. Please have us. At the risk of sounding like Meredith Grey (I seriously hate that wench), I’m imploring you: don’t lose us. This is THE DEFINITION of a win-win-win-win-win-win situation, but it risks being screwed up completely because of the narrow-mindedness and denial that often goes with poor forward planning. This is the powers-that-be saying, “What mistake? We made no mistake! It’s all THEIR fault, THEY can’t even speak English! AND BTW WHY AREN’T *THEY* PAYING FOR THEIR INTERNSHIPS, HMMM?”

Despite the profound insult to injury, I’m going to stand here and take it gracefully. Because grace in the face of overwhelming stupidity, callousness and ingratitude is just another thing that’s going to make me, and all my homeboys, amazing doctors.

And we’d really, really like to be yours.

Sana will graduate in 2013. The #interncrisis is going to be a long term problem, and unless a solution is found she may not have an internship next year. Take Action

This post was written by
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
  • Pants

    I seriously wept at this. If we all wrote this eloquently, the world would be come to an arrhythmic halt (but obvs it hasn’t, so you’re one of a kind, special girl!). I seriously hope you get an internship and subsequently get to practise in Australia. Good luck!

  • Sophia

    I wish I could have articulated this as well as you did but I’m standing with you all the way!

  • Leonie

    Well said and well done! congratulations to you for your honesty in expressing your hopes and desires. Australia needs young people with passion and who want to work here for the betterment of our country…..not just turn up and put their hands out. Politicians should be ashamed of the situation that has now arisen with our medical students.

  • Van

    Amazing is all I can say about this piece of writing.

  • Jaded cynic

    I’m an Australian citizen and Australian law graduate and actually have 5 years+ experience as a lawyer as well. Less than 50% of law graduates will work as solicitors in Australia and the profession has been seriously oversupplied for years at the entry level. You’ll notice that many advertisements for lawyers require copies of academic records, distinction averages etc. I’ve never seen an advertisement for a dentist or doctor or nurse that requires this.

    Why should these people be treated with kid gloves? They have their medical degrees, they can apply to come back to Australia later on after they have worked in their home countries. Or have they just decided to abandon their home countries for a bigger pay packet here in Australia? After all, if they want to help people, there is no need to stay here. And if they really want to stay why not get some experience overseas first. Sure it’s difficult…but try being a law graduate…50% of them never practice as lawyers in the first place. These people came here with the only guarantee being they would receive an Australian medical degree, not an internship or a job. The only inference is that it is not purely about practicing medicine but about staying in Australia that matters. The degree was not and is not a backdoor to free visa status.

    • Mike Peng

      Why would you want to send them away? If you are proud of the quality of your universities then wouldn’t you prefer to produce your own doctors rather than import them from inferior places? These students have been trained to best serve the Australian public and deal with medical problems unique to the area. Your universities have invested in them and they have already spent 2 years as clerks in your hospitals. The government has a complete monopoly on internships, which means that they have agreed to take responsibility in producing new doctors (of which there is a shortage). Unlike the legal industry, which is based on supply and demand, the public health care system is a planned economy. Losing these interns means wasting valuable resources.

      Also, due to the strictness of international medical licencing, doctors almost always settle down wherever they do their residencies.

    • Elizabeth Marks

      That comment you just wrote proves just how ignorant you are about how the medical system works. Assuming that a degree is a backdoor to a free visa status is blatantly rude and also misleading. It takes 5 long years to complete a medical degree and on top of that you have to meet employability criteria. But not getting a job simply because of your where you were born that’s just silly and being absolutely defeated by the system. In order to be a qualified certified doctor you will need to complete one year of internship, if you go to a different country to do your internship and return to Australia later on you’ll have to resit your exams as an International medical graduate. So I agree with Mike, why would you send them away? Australia hires bucketloads of overseas trained doctors and have to have resources to retrain them and have them sit through exams again, why not just keep the doctors they have trained here in the first place.

      Plus comparing a law degree to a medical degree is just plain ignorance. We don’t have jobs advertised because our training requires supervision and we can’t just go to any random hospitals willy-nilly like going into any law-firms that will hire you.

      I have worked with many international students that are amazing and have made Australia their home and married to local partners and are now Australian in every which way you look at them. If they can show as much passion as this writer in wanting to give back to the Australian people and our health system, why not? It could be your life or your loved one’s life that she’s saving someday.