Candidate: Lauren Zawal
Rural Health Club: BREAATHHE
Please provide summary of why you are interested in the position, your ability to fulfill the position and your previous experience related to the position. (Word limit: 300 words)
My name is Lauren, I am a fourth year medical student, and have served as the current BREAATHHE President for the last two years. Prior to, I also was the Vice President; these positions have given me a platform for advocacy and extended my leadership skills. During my time at UON, I have become accustomed to leading a team, keeping a high level of organisation, implementing constitutional changes, being an advocate for rural health and health degree students, as well as being involved in the execution of events. I have always aimed to extend my skills and knowledge, which can be seen through my involvement in various different activities, including the John Flynn Placement Program, the RDN Cadetship, NRHSN Councils, RDN Go Rural Trip, the UONDRH Tamworth Experience, choosing a rural year as a part of my studies, and through my current medical elective of rural health. As I am approaching the end of my medical school years, my focus has shifted onto the considerations of the future of rural health and how I can best play my part in shaping it. I am therefore stepping away from my university rural health club and seeking a national role. Furthermore, I believe that I am suited to this as I have built a strong foundation in my knowledge, and ability to effectively communicate with others.
Please provide a response to the Key Selection Criteria. (Word limit: 1000 words)
1.I will be spending my fifth year in Tamworth, where I will be provided with reliable access to email, phone and internet connections. Furthermore, I am reliable with communications and will provide timely contact with the team and external stakeholders.
2. As a UON student, I have the ability to apply for leave for events, e.g. conferences, and will ensure that I endeavour to appropriately prioritise weekend events, e.g. NRHSN council over other personal commitments.
3. I have had extensive experience at the RHC level. Most notably, is my two year Presidency within BREAATHHE, which followed one year of being Vice President. I have attended multiple NRHSN councils and have become familiar with the workings of the committee.
4. I believe that all students should have the ability to engage with rural health throughout their education. For me, my continuous engagement has spurred on my passion to pursue a career in rural health. As seen through my resume, this extends beyond my rural health club, into areas such as the JFPP, rural elective, rural clinical year, and working as a UON Ambassador for Rural Health.
5. I have had multiple areas of leadership. Notably as President of BREAATHHE, Year Representative for my medical degree twice, leading the medical orientation camp for over 100 students, volunteering as the UON Lifeblood convenor, working as a student ambassador at USYD, and working as a Rural Health Ambassador for prospective students at UON.
6. Through BREAATHHE, I have been fortunate to meet with the Hon Mark Coulton, who was the Minister for Regional Health at the time. I was put in a position where I was trusted to represent the health students of the University and their current views. I have also become accustomed to chairing open meetings, where my role is to represent the views of the club.
7. Through my involvement at NRHSN councils I have been able to gain an understanding of the roles of the committee. I have been able to hear about and be involved in the projects that they have conducted on behalf of their members. I appreciate that this committee has a role to represent a great number of students, and will constantly endeavour to ensure that all voices of this community are heard, represented and supported.
8. I have been very fortunate that I have worked with a team that involves many AH and nursing students. I have collaborated with these teams to ensure that they have tailored events, as sometimes the focus is unfairly shifted towards medical students. As a medical student, when performing these events I always ensure that they are the ones leading the situation. Furthermore, I have sought out experiences, such as the UONDRH Tamworth Rural Experience, where I participated in multiple days of multi-disciplinary simulations.
9. With BREAATHHE being one of the health clubs that consistently publishes a piece in Cooee, I can assure you that I see the value of this publication updating members and keeping us connected. Furthermore, I have gained huge insight from reading position papers at council as it really excites me to be involved in future health policy, and be part of the change.
10. I believe that I have been able to develop this skill throughout my advocacy for allied health and Indigenous health students. Within BREAATHHE, I have supported AH and Nursing students to run events that are tailored purely for these disciplines. I also recognised that within our committee Indigenous health was underrepresented within the available positions, and therefore introduced a new constitutional change to ensure that we had both a senior and junior Indigenous Health Officer. Despite not being an expert in every area, and nor will I ever be, I always ensure that I help support those who are to take the lead and learn from them in these situations.
11. Now in my fourth year of Medicine, and being involved in multiple extra curricular roles, I believe that this is a skill I have clearly demonstrated. My passion helps drive me to ensure that all tasks are completed. One of the skills that I have been developing is evolving how I best support other students to stay motivated and up to task. Therefore I try to set realistic expectations, with clear guidelines, support and deadlines. I think that also creating an open line of communication for when people need assistance, is key to ensuring that they feel supported and that they can reach out at any time.
12. My professional behaviour has been shaped through my leadership roles, work roles, and student placements. I know that I am often put in a place of privilege, i.e. with confidential knowledge about patients, and being let into their medical environment. This is a position of power that drives me to act in a professional manner, and ensure best practice. Furthermore, I have been trusted through my role as Rural Health Ambassador at UON which involves assisting in medical interviews. Again, this is a matter of confidentiality that I can appreciate and abide by.
13. BREAATHHE has a large executive team of 17 members, plus a junior committee. This has extended me to develop my skills to remain effective whilst working with many different personalities and roles. Whilst this may sometimes mean that the way in which a task is performed is not personal preference, I have learnt that trusting in my team, providing support, and listening to their views is always going to lead to a better outcome for all.
14. To date I have only had contact with the NSW Rural Doctors Network. I have come to appreciate their role for both students and health professionals. I look forward to future collaboration and believe that my skill set will allow me to interact appropriately with such corporations. At university level, our rural health club works with an administrator. This includes task such as financial reporting and reports of club activities.
Please provide your Curriculum Vitae. This can include a summary of specific previous experiences you have had related to rural health and leadership (events, courses, positions held, relevant previous or current employment). (Word limit: 500 words)
Personal Statement: A student leader of initiative and insight, currently completing fourth year Medicine at the University of Newcastle. Possessing a wide range of interests and dedication to service activities, with a passionate focus upon rural and Indigenous health.
Academic Achievements: JMP Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine, UON, 2018 – 2022 UON Medical Society Second Year Representative: 2019 UON Medical Society First Year Representative: 2018 USYD Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies), 2016 – 2017 Completed the first two years with a distinction average, before accepting an offer from the JMP. Elected Undergraduate Student Member of Faculty: 2017 USYD Academic Task Force: 2016 Frensham High School, Mittagong NSW, 2008 – 2013 Presented The Year 12 Frensham Student Award ‘Service to the School’ (2013) National Youth Science Forum, Canberra (2013)
Rural Health: BREAATHHE President 2019 – 2020, & 2020 – 2021 Leader and facilitator for two consecutive years, of a 17 person multi-disciplinary committee, with a member base of over 1000 students. We aim to serve rural communities, educate future health professionals and work towards ameliorating health inequalities for Indigenous and rural populations. Key roles include: –
- Bi-monthly committee meetings
- Charity events, e.g. ‘Bondi to Bush’ for the RFDS
- Indigenous Health Night Event
- Virtual and physical rural high school visits
- Medicine Rural Clinical Schools Information Night
- Implemented constitutional changes
- NRHSN Councils
BREAATHHE Vice President 2019
- Provided support to the BREAATHHE committee, acted in leadership roles for the running of events and creation of new events for members.
- Nursing tutor for Skills Night
- Created event for medical students for selection of rural sites
- Rural High School Visits
- Rural Soiree
BREAATHEE General Member 2018
- Attended committee meetings as a first year student, and assisted with the running of events.
- Nursing tutor for Skills Night
- Rural High School Visit
MIRAGE General Nursing Member 2016 – 2017 – Elected Secretary in 2017 prior to moving to UON
External: Australian Medical Students Association Rural Medicine Summit, Cairns QLD (2019) John Flynn Placement Program Cadetship, Swan Hill VIC (2019) UONDRH Tamworth Regional Experience, Tamworth NSW (2019) RDN Go Rural Trip, North-West NSW (2017)
Extracurricular Activities: University of Newcastle Medical Society Lifeblood Convenor (2020) Raised awareness, and facilitated blood, plasma and platelet donations by medical students, with a result of 300 donations in 8 weeks. Medicine Orientation Camp Convenor (2020) Organised a three day orientation camp for 100 medical students including student interest group activities and social events. Sydney University Nursing Society (2016-2017) Member of a committee that provided educational and social events, including Careers Evening, Nursing Ball, International Nurses Day Event, and New Students Welcome Evening. Served as Vice President in 2017, and General Executive Member in 2016.
Work History: Rural Health Ambassador, UON JMP Interviews (2019-2021) Patient Services Assistant, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (2017-2018) Student Ambassador, USYD (2016-2017)