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.

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

‘I am an advanced trainee in General Medicine which is a speciality 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. We take a holistic approach to the patient because in these remote areas there are a lack of specialists, so it’s great, we can go and look and manage their comorbidities –  heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, these are the common medical problems and we can put it all together and I think it is good for the patients to have one doctor, they trust us and we 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 training for up to two years. As part of that they encourage people to come to areas like Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns – it was an easy decision for me as I wanted to come here anyway and I had already spoken to senior doctors in Cairns and told them I wanted to come here and also applied for this scholarship and that’s how I heard about the outreach. They said if I wanted to do it would be a great experience and I got very excited and I was working towards this, to be able to do this as I think it’s a very unique and popular rotation and I am very fortunate to be able to do this and experience it.

‘I grew up in Poland, I then went to Germany to do medical school and lived there for seven years and then came to Australia to live and to work. 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, I just decided I wanted to come here and live here. So I’ve been doing my training in Australia and at this stage I see myself staying here and living here long term.’