Siobhan Hensey, 28, and Madelyn Van Der Leeden, 25, start their placements at the North Coast Centre for Rural Health in Lismore.
Siobhan Hensey, 28, and Madelyn Van Der Leeden, 25, start their placements at the North Coast Centre for Rural Health in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

Student doctors settle in to Lismore

A DECADE after completing Year 10 work experience at Lismore Base Hospital, Northern Rivers ex-pat Madelyn Van Der Leeden is back, this time as a medicine undergraduate training to be a doctor.

She's one of 16 undergraduates from the University of Sydney who began their practical placements on Monday at the North Coast University Centre for Rural Health.

"When I was in Year 10 we had a work experience placement and I came to the Lismore Base Hospital and I did a week on the kids' ward and I just remember I loved it," Ms Van Der Leeden said.

"That's why I wanted to come back and do this placement; just to network and see what it was like to be a doctor in Lismore.

"It's really nice to be home and I just like the laidback lifestyle."

After graduating from St John's College Woodlawn, Ms Van Der Leeden studied nursing at Griffith University on the Gold Coast before graduating and working at the Gold Coast Hospital in Southport for two years.

While working as a nurse, Ms Van Der Leeden made the decision to sit the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test and was accepted into Sydney University to study medicine.

For fellow medicine undergraduate Siobhan Hensey, the decision to become a doctor was inspired by aid work in South Africa.

"Like Maddy, I was interested in aid work and wanted to be able to travel, so I went to South Africa and spent some time in Cape Town and I was there for three months in the end and I did some volunteer work in men's health clinics and HIV testing," she said.

"When I was over there I spent some time in the hospitals with some medical students and I just loved what they were doing."

Ms Hensey said she hoped to go into general practice, women's health and indigenous health.

Both students said the North Coast was a highly-sought-after placement.

"We've been so impressed by how this place is set up and run," Ms Hensey said.

"Everyone's been so supportive and friendly and helpful and organised."



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