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Rural doctor goals

(From left) Deniliquin Medical Centre practice manager Alice Murphy, student doctor Constance Malliaras and practice nurse Tahne White. Photo by Bryanna Rossow

Constance Malliaras has dreams of one day being a rural general practitioner.

This career ambition led the 23 year-old second-year medical student to apply for a Bush Bursary scholarship, allowing her to experience life as a doctor in Deniliquin for two weeks.

Not having heard of Deniliquin before her allocation, even after only a couple days on the job Miss Malliaras has grown a real liking for Deni and the people that live here.

‘‘Everyone is so lovely here,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s such a different feel from the city. The doctors and nurses I have worked with have been so welcoming and willing to teach.’’

Miss Malliaras is studying a Doctor of Medicine at The University of Notre Dame in Sydney, and is originally from Melbourne.

So coming to Deni has been a unique experience for her.

‘‘I was a bit nervous coming in as I didn’t know what to expect and don’t really know a whole lot considering I am only one year into my degree.

‘‘But I have learned more in the first couple of days here then I have in my entire course so far. The things I have already done here I would never get the opportunity to do in the city.’’

The tfBannersc Pastoral Timestf$f caught up with Miss Malliaras on day three of her two week program.

She had already been shadowing doctors and nurses, sitting in on consults and even got to meet a new baby at the Deniliquin Hospital maternity ward.

‘‘I just missed sitting in for the birth, but I got there when the baby had just been delivered and still had the umbilical cord attached — it was so special to see.’’

One of the greatest differences Miss Malliaras has noticed from her time in Deni has been the openness and willingness, not just from the medical practitioners that she has worked with, but also the patients.

‘‘All the patients are so willing to have me involved in the discussions. In placements I have done in the city the patients are far less willing to chat with you,’’ she said. Miss Malliaras said these patient interactions are invaluable, and have helped her to gain more confidence in her work.

Although she is only here for two weeks, Miss Malliaras is excited to get as much exposure to the medical field and immerse herself in the community.

‘‘I want to soak in as much as I can in the rest of the time I’m here, and meet as many people as I can.’’

A highlight so far has been working with Dr Rachel James, who has been recognised for her efforts in the community for her dedication to rural health, at the Deniliquin Clinic on Monday.

‘‘It was so amazing to meet another young practitioner who went through a similar pathway as I am and is doing incredible things for the community,’’ she said.

‘‘Hopefully I will be able to do that one day.’’

The Bush Bursary program in Deniliquin is supported by the Country Women’s Association, the NSW Rural Doctors Network and the Edward River Council.

Also completing the program in Deniliquin this fortnight is fellow medical student Lachlan Mactier.

Both Miss Malliaras and Mr Mactier will spend time at the Deniliquin Clinic, Deniliquin Medical Centre, Shiloh Medical Centre, Deniliquin Hospital and Deniliquin Veterinary Clinic during the program.