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from Luke’s Journal CMDFA 2020 Vol 25 No 1
Starting out on a journey
We have all had that first day. For some of us, it may have been months, years or decades ago – but we have all stepped into the hospital or clinic for the first time as a fully-fledged doctor or dentist.
Years of study can never fully prepare you for the journey ahead. Doe-eyed and armed with as many cannulas and packets of gauze I could fit in my little work bag, I remember my first week of internship as a flurry of patient names, discharge summaries, and pager wrangling.
The transition from study to work can be a challenging time. Navigating the hospital system and day-to-day pressures, paired with the all-consuming nature and culture of the profession has led to high rates of burnout and, for some Christians, God and the gospel begin to slip lower down the priority list.
The annual Intern Bootcamp was, therefore, created to equip and serve new interns, providing them with practical theological and clinical tools to flourish spiritually and professionally, as they enter into the workplace. For one day, the different CMDFA groups across Australia create a space for those starting work to meet new friends in their region, have some fun, and to share apprehensions and anticipations for the upcoming year. Most importantly, Intern Bootcamp provides an opportunity to learn what it looks like to practice as a Christian in the often-challenging hospital system through presentations and conversations, supported by fellow Christian doctors and dentists who have gone through the same challenges before.
NSW Intern Bootcamp 2019
In New South Wales, 38 newly-minted doctors and dentists gathered at Summer Hill Anglican Church at the start of 2019. They were joined by doctors from all different stages – residents, registrars, GPs and consultants who all took time out to share their experiences as Christians in the workplace. The day was spent tackling topics such as the Biblical basis of work, work-life balance, Christian-minded finances, the ideal intern from a registrar’s perspective and providing spiritual care for our patients. The important skill of an intern in capitalising on free food was also exercised over lunch along with the opportunity to break off into the different hospital networks to meet the Christian brothers and sisters they would be working with.
As a medical resident in my second year out, helping organise this year’s Intern Bootcamp was a timely reminder of how God had answered all the anxious prayers I had made throughout that first year. During those times of walking down the corridor before reviewing a patient, it was the words of a paediatric registrar who had shared at Intern Bootcamp that echoed in my mind – that before all things, I could pray and commit that patient to God, the creator and sustainer of life.
We have a precious family through Christ and CMDFA, and it is a privilege to journey with those before and behind me with God as our head. As this year comes to a close, please be praying for our new interns starting work in 2020. May God give you the opportunity to encourage, journey with and share our Creator’s restoration alongside those you work with.
Dr Renee Chan – Canberra-born, Melbourne-raised, I am currently a PGY2 RMO at Blacktown Hospital in Sydney, NSW. I am, first and foremost, a lover of Christ; with an affinity for anything sweet and edible, and who dreams of becoming a rural GP.
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