St Vincent’s welcomed 61 newly-minted doctors to its medical community in January. Among the new interns is St Vincent’s Clinical School alumnus Dr Matthew Rees.
Dr Rees was the top-performing student in the first class to graduate from the University of Melbourne’s new Doctor of Medicine program, an achievement he describes as a great honour. He was in good company, with 16 of the top 60 graduates coming from St Vincent’s Clinical School.
From the Clinical School facilities, to the staff, location and his fellow students, Dr Rees can’t speak highly enough of his experience and it made St Vincent’s a natural first choice when it came to intern programs.
‘I was aware how well St Vincent’s Clinical School did academically, and from day one we got to meet senior consultants and were able to develop really good relationships with them.’
In particular, Dr Rees cites Clinical School surgical mentor Mr Naveed Alam and Professor Michael Henderson as important influences on his education and development, and he remembers a number of inspiring speeches from Professor Peter Choong.
Over the coming year, each intern will do five rotations at St Vincent’s, with one placement at a regional hospital. Dr Rees has started in the emergency department, with rotations in general medicine, respiratory medicine, cardiothoracic and general surgery still to come.
‘Starting in ED is great. Everyone is very welcoming and there’s a lot of support from people like Dr Neil Cunningham, who had a lot to do with my teaching as a student and now as an intern in ED.’
As Dr Rees and his fellow interns are taking the next steps on their professional journeys, the next crop of Clinical School students is beginning theirs. Does he have any advice?
‘Everyone who goes into medicine is motivated, and very results-oriented, but if you focus only on marks and rankings you miss out on a bit of the experience. The big thing is to enjoy the study – if you enjoy learning you’re halfway there.’
He says it’s also vital to have other outlets. For Dr Rees that meant cycling and tennis, playing piano and occasional club DJ-ing, not to mention table tennis in the Clinical School common room.
‘I think the natural tendency for medical students is to talk medicine non-stop, which is good, but sometimes it’s nice to switch off and have a hit instead.’