Forging ahead with career goal

He may describe himself as a man without a plan, but Shepparton medical student Grady Dickason is following a clear pathway towards his chosen career.

“I just take things as they come; if an opportunity comes my way, I’ll take it and have a crack,” he said.

Those opportunities, combined with some serious studying, have earned Mr Dickason a place in the University of Melbourne's four-year Doctor of Medicine course.

The 23-year-old has just completed his second year of the post-graduate degree, which involved rotations in the emergency department and surgical and medical wards of Goulburn Valley Health.

In 2021 the Notre Dame College graduate will be based in Echuca, gaining experience in a GP setting and incorporating aspects of women’s, children’s and First Nations health specialities.

“The Doctor of Medicine gives you a taste of everything and exposes you to so many different areas of medicine,” Mr Dickason said.

“Studying in a rural setting has been a good opportunity to be more hands-on; often there is a smaller workforce so you can get in there and be more practical in your learning.”

Science was a key part of Mr Dickason’s secondary school studies, and his original plan to be a vet changed after he undertook work experience and realised it wasn’t for him.

“I already had the science background so when my VCE score made a La Trobe course available to me, I took it to see where that could go,” Mr Dickason said.

Part-way through the three-year Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus he heard about the pathway into the Doctor of Medicine from fellow students.

Mr Dickason said sat the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test twice — unhappy with his first attempt he did an intensive course to improve his score and sat the test again — and was interviewed by both University of Melbourne's and University of Sydney’s medical faculties.

The Melbourne uni option meant he could complete his first year at the Parkville city campus, returning to his hometown for second- and third-year studies at the Department of Rural Health’s Shepparton site.

“Because of COVID, where I’ll be for the fourth year is a bit unknown at the moment,” Mr Dickason said said.

The Shepparton campus is a tight-knit and supportive group with the 2020 second-year cohort comprising a mix of rural and metropolitan Victorian and interstate students.

Once he’s completed the Doctor of Medicine, Mr Dickason will pursue an internship and residency before considering a speciality.

“I’ll be starting at the bottom. When I’m finished (Doctor of Medicine) it won’t mean the end of study. I’ll probably be studying for the rest of my life,” he said.

This article first appeared in Shepparton News 12th January 2021