Community & Business

26 January, 2024

Locals back home to start medical careers

TWO locals have returned to the Far North after years of studying to start their medical careers.

Junior doctors Marco Soncin (left) and Sophie Gampe with Dr Lachlan Gordon, Acting Director of Medical and Emergency Services.
Junior doctors Marco Soncin (left) and Sophie Gampe with Dr Lachlan Gordon, Acting Director of Medical and Emergency Services.

Mareeba’s Marco Soncin and Atherton’s Sophie Game are among 59 medical interns who have chosen to start their careers in Far Northern hospitals after years of studying medicine.

While Sophie and Marco will not work at the Mareeba or Atherton Hospitals, they will work through a variety of units that may include general medicine, surgery, emergency medicine, and additional terms in other specialised areas, to ensure they get diverse experience.

The Cairns and Hinterland Health and Hospital Service (CHHHS) is working towards expanding its John Flynn Prevocational Doctor Program to allow junior doctors to spend invaluable time working in rural settings with rotations to hospitals including Tully, Babinda, Mossman, Cooktown, Thursday Island, Bamaga and Weipa.

Born and bred at Atherton, Sophie studied medicine at James Cook University and says she is passionate about rural medicine, in particular obstetrics and gynaecology.

“My mum is a doctor at Atherton Hospital, but I didn’t really want to follow in her footsteps until I explored my studying options in uni,” Sophie said.

“I applied for medicine at JCU and got in and discovered a passion for women’s and reproductive health.

“I did a couple of placements in the Cape and Torres Strait region, and really enjoyed it. I have the opportunity now to work in my own community. I just love rural medicine and working within tight, close-knit communities.

“Through all of my studying, I grew a real appreciation for what Mum does, but now I’m hoping to forge my own path, focussing on obstetrics and gynaecology.”

Marco Soncin, who was born and bred in Mareeba, is another JCU medical graduate who has studied in Townsville and Cairns and is looking forward to starting his career locally.

“Growing up in Mareeba, I have a lot of respect for health practitioners,” he said.

“When it came time for me to choose a career, I decided to study medicine, and focus on rural generalism, with a goal of working in a rural hospital.

“Through my studies at JCU, I was able to do placements in Mount Isa and places like that, and it really showed me what I wanted to do.

“Rural medicine has a large scope of practice, and every day is different.

“Living and working in a small town, you get to know your community a bit better compared to a large city.

“I’m excited to start my career in Cairns.”

Cairns Hospital’s Acting Director of Medical and Emergency Services Dr Lachlan Gordon said CHHHS was a highly sought-after destination for junior doctors wanting to start their careers, especially working in regional and rural Australia.

“As a JCU graduate myself, I know the value of not only studying in northern Queensland, but also working here as well,” he said.

“Many of our junior doctors are locals who have grown up here and want to give back to their

communities by pursuing careers in medicine.

“They also have the opportunity to experience diverse clinical presentations unique to Tropical North Queensland, and benefit from the wonderful lifestyle we enjoy in our part of the world.

“Our medical workforce has exposure to a vast array of clinical presentations including crocodile attacks, tropical infectious diseases, and chronic conditions, as well as the opportunity to work with senior medical specialists to diagnose, treat and prevent chronic and life-threatening diseases and injuries.

“We are the only place in Australia where you work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service as an intern or junior doctor.

“This year we are working with Gurriny Yealamucka and Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service to provide rotations in indigenous communities, which is a fantastic addition to our world-renowned junior doctor program.”


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