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Outback draws interest

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

Amber Pesendorfer, one of the newest interns for the health district.  PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Amber Pesendorfer, one of the newest interns for the health district. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

When Amber Pesendorfer had to decide in what town to do her internship; she jumped at the chance to head to outback Australia.

Amber is the third intern recently welcomed at the Far West Local Health District who enthusiastically chose Broken Hill.

Originally from a small town in Canada, Amber studied as an international medical student in Sydney at the Western Sydney University. 

Working in medicine has been a lifelong dream for her, with a hint of inspiration from her mother’s dream. 

“Being passionate about helping others, obviously that is a huge component of it but I think it was something that I had dreamed of since I was a little girl and I just sort of worked towards that goal from that point onwards,” she said.

Amber was always, and still is, science inclined and enjoyed learning about the human body. 

“I think another huge component of it was that my mum had always wanted to become a doctor but just unfortunately wasn’t able to because my parents are a little bit older,” she said.

“Back in those days they could really only afford to support one child through post-secondary education and that was typically the male that went through and yeah she was somebody that I thought would make the most amazing doctor.”

A combination of a great support system, a good family and encouraging teachers behind her helped Amber to pursue her career in medicine. “I mean I was a kid when I decided to do medicine, so, like what in particular sparked that is hard to pin point, like when you’re little you don’t really know? 

“But I really do love humanity and I enjoy getting to know people so it seems like a pretty good option.”

As part of their internship with the Far West Local Health District, the interns are required to work as a surgical intern, a medical intern and an emergency intern.

They will spend time on each service within their intern year as part of their training process. 

Amber’s first placement will be as a medical intern and she is already loving the business and variety. 

“It’s very busy and I guess what I like is because I’m sort of interested in emergency medicine and retrieval medicine, I generally like a variety and general medicine definitely gives you that,” Amber said.

“It’s good for learning purposes and just that we get a huge variety of patient presentations and it’s challenging but interesting to be able to problem solve those, putting all the pieces together and working out exactly what’s going on with the patient.”

Rural and generalist medicine are an interest of Amber’s, as well as emergency. 

Rural medicine wasn’t something she wanted to follow originally but after a student placement in Bourke, NSW, she realised how remote some areas in outback Australia are, which are different to the demographic in Canada but she fell in love with everything about it. 

“I liked the idea of practising in an area that just doesn’t have the same sort of resources as the bigger areas and it made me realise that I do enjoy the country more than I do the city.”

Amber was leaning towards a specialty in emergency but is currently in the process of deciding whether she still wants to pursue an emergency pathway specifically or something like the rural generalist pathway.

She is also looking forward to getting some exposure to the RFDS base during her time here, to experience it and see what it is all about.

After she was offered and accepted the internship position, Amber visited Broken Hill to get a feel for the town and do a tour of the hospital.

She wanted to go as rural as possible and Broken Hill was that option, she already knew she would like it based on her previous placement in Bourke. 

“I never get sick of looking at the scenery, and there is something about it that I just love.”

She loves the small community aspect of Broken Hill, similar to that of her hometown.

“I grew up in a town of about 2,000 people so I understand the purpose of community and I know that sometimes too it’s like everybody knows everyone and that can sometimes be a con but it can also be huge pro.

“I know what it’s like when things go wrong in a community and usually everybody is more than willing to step in and I think that’s really great.” 

Amber also loves the lifestyle in town. 

She was not a fan of the Sydney traffic or humidity and much prefers the dry heat, although she loves the Canadian winters and snow. 

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