Candidate: Madeleine Brown
Rural Health Club: RHINO
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)
I am most interested in this position because I believe it would be an opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals with a common passion for contributing to a positive change in the rural workforce nationwide. I consider myself an enthusiastic, outgoing and passionate individual, and thrive in an environment in which I am surrounded by similarly passionate people. I constantly seek out opportunities that challenge and excite me and view the position of Medical Officer as a chance to enhance skills in leadership, communication and advocacy that I perhaps have not yet explored in depth throughout my medical degree thus far. My passion for rural health and community service has been demonstrated by a number of roles I have held within my university’s rural health club over the duration of my medical degree. My current role as President of Club RHINO has been both a major challenge, and wonderful opportunity to develop numerous skills that I believe would serve me well as Medical Officer within the NRHSN Executive Committee. This role has continued to develop my professionalism, leadership, teamwork and communication skills, through interaction with executive and committee members, members of the student body, university staff and stakeholders on a state and national level. Moreover, the need to balance the demands of this role with full time study, part time work and other personal commitments has required a high level of organisation and time management. These are skills I would draw upon in my role of Medical Officer and enable me to fulfil the requirements of this position to the best of my abilities. In my role as RHINO President, I have worked closely with members of the NRHSN, and have highly valued the support of these individuals and the NHRSN as a whole. This is something that I would hope to continue through a role within the NRHSN Executive Committee, and would enjoy offering the same level of support, guidance and mentorship to incoming RHC leaders, as I know myself how much it is appreciated.
Please provide a response to the Key Selection Criteria. (Word limit: 1000 words)
My passion for both rural health and serving my local university community is evident through the strong involvement I have maintained with Club RHINO since commencing university studies at James Cook University in 2017. Over the last four years, I have progressed from a passive participant to an active member and leader within the club, serving as Medical Faculty Representative in 2019, and the current 2020 Club President. My position as Medical Faculty Representative was pivotal in developing my communication skills and ability to interact with stakeholders beyond the realms of the university. This position required close communication with Health Workforce Queensland to promote and recruit students for the John Flynn Placement Program. I was responsible for co-ordinating the JFPP Introduction Night, which attracted over 70 first- and second-year medical students. Within this role, I also worked closely with JCU’s pastoral care team to facilitate the Rural and Remote Mentorship Program, which involved leading a team of medical students to support incoming first years with the transition from rural and remote Queensland into their university studies. My work in this role demonstrates not only my passion for rural health, but also my skills in communication, organisation and teamwork – assets I consider to be fundamental in any leadership role. Throughout 2020, I have served as the President of Club RHINO. Whilst challenging, this role as has been an opportunity to develop numerous skills that I believe would serve me well as Medical Officer within the NRHSN Executive Committee. In my role as President, I have chaired fortnightly Executive Committee meetings as well as monthly General Committee Meetings. I have also encouraged the club to maintain a strong online presence to engage students through the COVID-19 pandemic. My proudest success was the inaugural “Run With RHINO – Marathon in May” Challenge, which saw 170 students run 2,490km to raise funds and awareness for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation. The event was extremely popular amongst students, and enabled people to come together and feel part of a community during a very challenging and isolating time, whilst supporting a valuable charity. Other successes during my presidency include the “Going Rural” Q&A Session for second year medical students prior to their four-week rural placement, chaired by sixth year medical students, and the “Rural Pathways” information session for Dentistry students. The success of these events reflects my ability to work cohesively within a team, and my ability as a leader to recognise and draw upon strengths of individual team members to facilitating a diverse scope of events. My term as President has also enabled me to interact more closely with members of the NRHSN. Through this role, I have gained a more informed understanding of the role of the NRHSN within rural health clubs, particularly across the realms of advocacy, education, research and support. I would appreciate the opportunity to offer the same degree of support, mentorship and guidance to incoming rural health club leaders as a member of the NRHSN Executive Team, as I understand how much this is appreciated. My interest in rural health extends beyond the positions I have held within Club RHINO. Throughout my university studies, I have actively sought out opportunities to gain as much experience in rural medicine as possible. In 2017 I was selected as a recipient of a John Flynn Placement Scholarship, and return every year to Murray Bridge, South Australia to undertake a 2-3 week placement supervised by a rural GP with special interest in obstetrics and gynaecology. In 2018 I was awarded the Lynn Kratcha Memorial Bursary – a scholarship that is awarded annually to a second-year medical student demonstrating an interest for rural health. This scholarship enabled me to undertake a four-week rural placement in Saskatchewan, Canada. Both of these unique experiences informed my working understanding of the challenges that exist in delivering health care to rural areas not only in Australia, but also abroad. These experiences informed my understanding of the impact of the social determinants of health on an individuals’ wellbeing, particularly food security, education, infrastructure and housing. Furthermore, these opportunities have enhanced my appreciation for a multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare. As a future medical practitioner, I understand that my own knowledge is limited, and therefore, it will be essential to call upon the expertise of my peers to provide optimal care for patients and communities as a whole. I believe that this partnership is forged early in ones’ career, and that rural health clubs are the optimal environment to support this collaboration. I acknowledge that one of the key roles of Medical Officer within the NRHSN is to communicate effectively across verbal and written platforms, and to voice the opinion of the greater executive and student body. Through my various roles within Club RHINO, I have been required to facilitate meetings across face to face and virtual platforms, promote events and bursaries to students at lectures, and speak at the university Open Day to share my experience with high school students. This demonstrates my ability to communicate across a range of platforms. My communication with Health Workforce Queensland, and other state and national stakeholders, has required a high degree of professionalism and ability to represent the views and opinions of the wider student body, rather than my own. I consider myself to be highly organised and punctual and possess the ability to prioritise tasks in order to meet both professional and personal deadlines. In terms of what I would offer the NRHSN Executive Committee, I consider my enthusiasm and dedication to all that I undertake, a key asset. I am excited by the prospect of gaining a deeper understanding of the political, structural and economic barriers that currently exist for recruiting a rural health workforce. I am equally as excited to serve as an informed, neutral and professional voice for students in the medical field nationwide, either hoping to study or pursue a career outside of metropolitan areas. I would represent the views of the NRHSN with pride and professionalism and recognise that this is a unique opportunity to contribute to the positive change that is occurring in rural health throughout the country.
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)
I am currently a fourth-year medical student studying at James Cook University, Townsville. I relocated from regional New South Wales to pursue my passion to study Medicine at an institute with a specific focus on rural, remote and Indigenous Medicine. Throughout my university studies, I have actively sought out opportunities for leadership within my rural health club and the wider community. These opportunities, combined with lived experiences I have gained through rural placements nationwide, have increased my understanding of the challenges that exist for recruiting and maintaining a strong workforce in rural medicine. I am passionate about advocating for positive change in these areas, and hope to serve as an informed, neutral and professional voice for students of medicine across Australia.
Education – James Cook University: Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (2017-2022) – St Columba Anglican School: Higher School Certificate (2016)
Experience – President: Club RHINO (2020) ✔️ lead a committee of 24 members, and a club of over 400 members spanning across the fields of medicine and allied health ✔️ chaired fortnightly executive committee members and monthly general committee meetings ✔️ maintained a strong presence online during the COVID-19 lockdown, holding virtual events such as the “Run with RHINO” challenge and “Going Rural” placement information session for second year medical students – Homegroup Facilitator: JCU College of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy (2019-2020) ✔️ organised weekly meetings for second year medical students focusing on professionalism, clinical reasoning and study skills – Medical Faculty Representative: Club RHINO (2019) ✔️ worked closely with Health Workforce Queensland to promote and recruit students for the John Flynn Placement Program ✔️ served as Student Co-ordinator of the Rural and Remote Mentorship Program, which supports first year medical students in the transition from rural and remote Australia to university studies in a metropolitan area – Careers Fair Marketing Assistant: JCU Careers and Employability (2019) ✔️ recruited and co-ordinated 20 student volunteers to assist at the annual JCU Career’s Fair Expo ✔️ managed rostering, availabilities and risk assessment Awards and Scholarships – Lynn Kratcha Memorial Bursary for Rural Medicine (2018) ✔️ awarded each year to a second year medical student with a passion for rural health, to represent JCU throughout a four-week rural placement in Saskatchewan, Canada – John Flynn Placement Program Partipant (2017-2021) ✔️ each year I return to Murray Bridge, South Australia, to undertake a 2-3 week placement supervised by a GP with special interest in obstetrics and gynaecology – SCAS Award Recipient (2016) ✔️ the most prestigious award at my high school, presented to a Year 12 student who excelled in the areas of sport, academia, culture and service – ADF Long Tan Award for Leadership (2014) ✔️ awarded to a senior student demonstrating exceptional leadership and service
Volunteer Work – Red Cross Plasma Donor (2020) – JCU Teddy Bear Hospital Volunteer (2017 – 2018) – JCU Cleveland Youth Detention Centre Volunteer (2018) – Townsville Hospital Foundation Volunteer (2018) – “Deadly Choices” Student Volunteer (2017)