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How We Do What We Do

Pictured left to right: Dr Magdelina Simonis; Dr Neela Janakiramanan; Professor Catherine Crock; Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos

Medical women gathered together at the St Vincent’s Hospital Boardroom on the evening of the 28th of March, enjoying the sweeping view of Melbourne and the excellent company at the annual VMWS event, ‘How We Do What We Do.’ Professor Catherine Crock, Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos, Dr Neela Janakiramanan, and Dr Magdelena Simonis generously shared their experiences and wisdom with the audience, in what was essentially an evening of thoughtful story telling.

The importance of finding and pursuing passions and hobbies resonated throughout each of the evening’s stories. Professor Crock combined her interest in the arts, her experience as a Physician, and her passion for patient-centred care to found the Hush Foundation, which, among many other things, produces music to reduce stress and improve the hospital experience for children and their families. Associate Professor Kotsirilos incorporated her personal experience and interest in yoga, meditation, and nutrition into her practice as a holistic GP, and became a leader in Integrative Medicine. Dr Janakiramanan, in addition to being a reconstructive plastic surgeon, steered her compassion towards the well-known campaign to get critically ill children and their families off Nauru, utilising her diverse skills in writing and advocacy, which she also employs in contributing articles to Women’s Agenda. And Dr Simonis, VMWS president and GP, has pursued her interest in women’s health and rights not only in her medical practice, but also on boards and committees, in textbooks and journals, and in public speaking, teaching and mentoring.

As was clearly illustrated in each of the stories of these medical women, a diversity of experiences and exploration of interests outside of clinical medicine can not only help you avoid burnout, stay happy, and look after yourself, but will also undoubtedly serve to improve you as an individual and a doctor. As exemplified in these doctors’ lives and careers, whether you have a passion for the arts, the environment, refugee health, women’s rights, or any combination of things; your work towards these causes can fulfil, inspire, and improve you.

In medicine we have the privilege of a respected voice and an impressively connected professional network, which helps enable us to effect change, as Dr Janakiramanan and her team demonstrated in gathering over 7000 signatures of medical professionals to call on the government to pass the bill for urgent medical transfers of patients on Nauru and Manus Island, and Associate Professor Kotsirilos has shown us in advocating for her local environment via the media and politicians. These women have reminded us that we are given unique opportunities to do good in our communities.

Thank you to these generous speakers who shared these stories with us. Thank you to the committee for organising another wonderful event. And of course thank you to all of the VMWS members and guests who attended. Our next event, ‘How to Write a Stellar CV and Ace Your Interview’ is on Saturday May 18th from 10am at the Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth St, Melbourne.

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