Part-time interns pushing for progress

Dr Jean Gador-Whyte and Dr Laura Toscano are excited to be beginning their medical careers at St Vincent’s as members of the 2018 intern class.

However as young mothers, Jean and Laura will juggle the demands of the job with the added responsibility of raising a family. This year they are the only part-time interns in Victoria, sharing one job at one site during a two year internship.

Dr Toscano, who has a five month old daughter named Nina, raised the possibility of undertaking an internship part time at last year’s open day.

‘I was surprised to be greeted with such a positive response,’ saysDr Toscano. ‘I’d asked a few other hospitals as well and been told ‘no way’.’

Dr Jean Gador-Whyte and Dr Laura Toscano
Dr Jean Gador-Whyte and Dr Laura Toscano

‘St Vincent’s was the place I wanted to work and I thought there was no way they would have us, but they said they would definitely consider it. A couple of months later we received the good news that our submission had been accepted.’

Both interns agree that a part-time internship is something that should be offered more broadly. Traditionally junior doctors were quite young, but now it is becoming more common for students to be older when they being an internship. These days more medical students are either parents already, or  planning a family, while still studying.

‘I don’t think there’s ever a good time in medicine to take a year off to have a baby or to do anything in your life that isn’t medicine related,’ Dr Tpscano says.

‘If I had to choose, I would rather choose a family,’  says Dr Gador-Whyte, who is the mother of an 18 month old son,. ‘But we are both lucky to have this opportunity and determined to make it work. Everyone has been really supportive.’

They also believe that there are added benefits to interns and junior doctors raising a family at the same time.

‘The organisational skills that a parent can bring make them a particularly good candidate,’ Dr Toscano says. ‘As a parent, you need to juggle a lot of things.’

There are also others who may benefit from part-time internships.

‘It’s not just a women’s issue,’ Dr Toscano says. ‘Medical issues or other reasons could put people off continuing in medicine, which is something we should better understand.’

As their careers progress, both would like to do General Practice, working part time while their children are little.

‘Once you get into the GP training program, it is much more common for people to work part-time and juggle family and work life,’ Says Dr Toscano.

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