“I’ve always wanted to give back”: Welcome western Sydney’s new junior doctors

Junior medical officers Dr Howard Li and Dr Francesca Zhu chat before beginning their simulation training at Westmead Hospital.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has welcomed 137 new junior medical officers this week – and for at least one it means working with the midwife who delivered him.

As a third-year medical student, Dr Tony Arida completed an obstetrics and gynaecology rotation at Auburn Hospital under the guidance of senior midwife Glenys Chong, who helped bring him into the world 25 years earlier.

“My mother told me on my first day to look out for her, and I found her, and she remembered my family very well. It was a surreal moment,” Tony said.

He’s not the only new doctor with a special connection to WSLHD – Dr Howard Li had his appendix removed at Westmead Hospital at age 18.  

“I’ve always wanted to work for Westmead emergency department to give back, and it looks like I’ll have my chance this year,” Howard said.

Fairfield resident Dr Van Nguyen is not only a new junior medical officer, but a sushi chef with almost 5,500 followers on Instagram who creates high-end sushi packs using the same ingredients and fish suppliers as “the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney”. He is also a second-generation Australian born to refugee parents who escaped the Vietnam war.

These are just some of the fascinating profiles of this year’s WSLHD cohort of JMOs who have started working at four of its hospitals across the region: Westmead, Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Auburn.

Interns are medical graduates who have completed their medical degree and are required to complete a supervised year of practice in order to become independent practitioners.

These new doctors will play a key role in our District and enter a training program with networked hospitals throughout the state. They join over 1,000 interns across the NSW Health system – a record number of new starters.

“Welcome to the class of 2022, many who have already worked either as assistants in medicine or student vaccinators as part of the COVID-19 workforce response across NSW,” WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy said.

“They will play a pivotal role in supporting our ongoing response to COVID-19 and other essential services across the district at a crucial time for our health system.”

University of Sydney Westmead Clinical School graduate Dr Abhishek Goyal is one such example, working as a student vaccinator for WSLHD at Qudos Bank Arena last year.

I hold Westmead Hospital very close to my heart and feel a strong sense of pride finally having the opportunity to work here.”

Dr Abhishek Goyal

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, orientation is being offered as a hybrid online/face-to-face model in a first for the District.

“It’s a critical time for the arrival of these new doctors. Day one for a new intern is special – but particularly more so with our JMOs joining our service during a global pandemic,” Graeme said.

“Our staff are working in state-of-the-art redevelopments at Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Westmead hospitals, which means our JMOs will be learning inside the hospitals of the future.

“A warm welcome to all and I wish our JMOs a positive journey with WSLHD.”

More information on the recruitment of JMOs can be found here: www.health.nsw.gov.au/jmo/Pages/default.aspx