When George met Gabi
The MDHS Mentoring Program pairs a final year medical student with an experienced alum who can offer advice and practical support as the student prepares to start their career.
George Yang (BBiomed (Hons) 2012, MD 2017) is a medical registrar in his third year of basic physician training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Since early 2022, he has mentored Gabrielle Hayman (BBiomed (Hons) 2018) who is in the final year of her Doctor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. Mentor and mentee have met over Zoom and over coffee after busy working days and say they’ve both benefited from the mentoring program.
Gabrielle: “Some of my family members are doctors so a career in medicine was always in the back of my mind. Dad works in hospitals and sometimes as a kid I’d go to work with him. During Year 10, I did work experience in a hospital and a specialist clinic, and by the time I got to VCE I could see medicine as my career.
I did a Bachelor of Biomedicine and an honours year in population and global health and then began the Doctor of Medicine. I’ve spent this year at St Vincent’s Hospital and that’s where I will be an intern next year. I’ll rotate through core medicine, surgical and emergency departments and a few other areas. During that time, I hope I’ll get a clearer idea of what I’d like to specialise in.
George has been a great mentor. Initially he helped me with my job applications – he talked about the process of applying for an internship, looked over my CV and cover letter, and we did some practice interviews. I’d not sat a formal interview since Year 12 so that was daunting but George helped me craft some interview skills.
He has listened while I figure out what speciality I want to focus on, too. George was in a similar position and he’s explained how he finally narrowed things down and reminds me that I can take my time and I don’t have to know what I want to do immediately.
Medicine is a huge world and sometimes you feel like a baby in the system. George’s objective voice is incredibly helpful. Because he is five years ahead, he can give me a different perspective, but he’s close enough to his own graduation to remember the challenges and pressures.
During my second year of study, I missed placement opportunities because of COVID but I’m looking forward to next year and being a ‘real’ doctor, getting closer to patients and taking on more responsibility and challenge. George gives me confidence that I can do that.
I have huge respect for healthcare workers and how they have managed to deal with the pressures of the pandemic – from understaffing and working extra shifts to using PPE and still displaying such professionalism. I am looking forward to being part of that profession.”
George: “When I was young, I always knew I’d end up in science, medicine or engineering. I liked problem-solving, learning new things and I also enjoyed talking to people, which was why I eventually chose medicine. You look after people from all walks of life and get to understand their life journey, and there is also lots of problem-solving and interesting science. Every day I wake up happy to go to work!
I completed my internship at the Northern Hospital and then moved to Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) as RMH offers a wide variety of speciality rotations. I realised I enjoyed medicine the most, so I’ve continued with physician training. Next year I will begin advanced training in general medicine and also plan to train in another specialty.
I joined the University’s mentoring program because of my experiences as a junior doctor. Regular discussions with senior people over the years, who were often informal mentors, helped me make decisions in my career pathway. I’d ask them what they liked and didn’t like about their job and various specialties, the patient population they look after, the hours they work and then reflected on how that would influence my choices.
I’ve been helped by those mentors and so I’ve been happy to share my experiences with Gabi. We first met in March this year and established what she wanted from the mentor-mentee relationship. Initially, we worked together on intern applications – how to structure her resume and interview preparation. Later, I offered Gabi some guidance and tips and tricks to make her transition to internship a smooth one.
Gabi is in a similar place that I was in at her age – she’s undecided about her career pathway now, which is very normal at this stage. I’ve encouraged her to talk to people in different areas of medicine about their experiences and we chat about the pros and cons of different working environments and the specialities I’ve experienced during my training.
For me, it’s been very satisfying to help another person with their journey from medical student to intern. This mentorship has been a very rewarding experience for me and I wish Gabi all the best in her future career.”
INTERESTED IN MENTORING A FINAL YEAR STUDENT?
The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences launched the faculty-wide mentoring program for final year students in 2020. This year, over 300 alumni have mentored students as part of the program, helping to transform the University experience for final year students and support them as they embark on their own career journeys.
Express your interest in the 2023 Mentoring Program today.