Stepping into people’s lives

By Liz Mellino

A strong passion for Greater Shepparton has encouraged former local Krystal Green to return home to help improve health outcomes for the wider community.

The 24-year-old, who will complete her fourth year of a Doctor of Medicine at the Department of Rural Health in Shepparton this year, said she was happy to be back home near family and friends.

Born at Goulburn Valley Health and having attended Bourchier St Primary School and Shepparton High School, Ms Green said she discovered at a young age her favourite play activity was to perform surgery on her teddy bears.

Fixing them with bandages and Band-aids, Ms Green knew a career in medicine was something she was suited to.

Moving to Melbourne as a student in 2013, Ms Green completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne before beginning a Doctor of Medicine.

For the past two years she has attended the Department of Rural Health, where she will continue this year and complete her final year of studies.

While studying at the Rural Clinical School last year, Ms Green was one of 24 students based at Shepparton Medical Centre, working in a rural practice with a high number of patients who required complex care.

‘‘It was extremely hands-on, I loved it, I felt like part of the team, like I was adding to the care of patients,’’ she said.

‘‘I had amazing clinical educators who were a huge support both academically and emotionally ... I was given practical opportunities at Goulburn Valley Health and GP clinics where I scrubbed in to be first assistant in a surgery, completed suturing, and was the first one to hold a baby after a caesarean section.’’

She said one of the most rewarding experiences last year was returning to Shepparton High School to be part of the Doctors in Schools program.

It was there she discovered her passion for adolescent health and how important it was to listen to others talk about their lives.

‘‘It was brilliant to be in a school setting and listen to students as they face and share their concerns ... for some of them it was encouraging to see someone who had come from the same place they currently are; I walked down the same corridors and sat in the same classrooms,’’ Mrs Green said.

This year she will begin to conduct research on rural GP management of adolescent depression, working closely with Associate Professor Helen Malcolm and Dr Tejas Golhar.

Once qualified she said she hoped to begin work in north-east Victoria as an intern and continue to practise medicine rurally.

‘‘Growing up in the country definitely motivated me to want to come back; they have low resources and a lot of people who need complex care which can be quite involved,’’ Ms Green said.

‘‘I love the problem-solving nature of medicine, the unique opportunity to step into people’s lives at some of their best and worst moments to help them through.’’