" We Fly To Work"

"We Fly To Work"

Dr Jowita Kozlowska is an Advanced Trainee in General Medicine. Originally from Poland, Jowita studied in Germany before moving to Australia to work as a doctor. She was awarded a two year scholarship in General Medicine, enabling her to do a six months rotation with Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, working as part of their CheckUP supported outreach team in remote Aboriginal communities in Cape York.

She shared her story with CheckUP Regional Coordinator – Far North, Juliana Foxlee.

'I travel to Cooktown, Hopevale, Wujal Wujal, Lockhart River, Coen Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Weipa and Napranum and the work is amazing.  In the clinics over ninety percent of my patients are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – you don’t get that anywhere else. There’s a lot of travel but we always see interesting people and it’s good to engage them in their healthcare, get to know them and monitor their progress.

I am an advanced trainee in General Medicine which is a specialty of Physician training. In General Medicine we look after patients with multiple complex medical problems and I think outreach work is very valuable for my training.

 

The distances in this place amaze me – everything is so far apart.  You cannot compare it to anywhere else. We even fly to work!

We take a holistic approach to the patient because in these remote areas there is a lack of specialists, so it’s great that we are able to assist in the management of their co-morbidities –  heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. These are common medical problems and I

think it is beneficial for the patients to have one doctor they trust who can address all these issues. We also meet with GPs and go to hospitals to support teams on the ground.

I always wanted to come to Cairns because it was a tropical area and I thought it would be a great experience to work here so I applied for a scholarship in General Medicine.

 

They only nominate two or three trainees Queensland-wide to receive this scholarship which supports our training for up to two years. They encourage people to come to areas like Toowoomba, Townsville, and Cairns.  It was an easy decision for me as I had already spoken to senior doctors in Cairns who said it would be a great experience to deliver outreach services. 

In my last year of medical studies I came to Australia as part of an elective subject and I loved this country. It’s so beautiful! So I’ve been completing my training in Australia and at this stage I see myself staying here and living here long term.’