When Eddie Proper was a boy growing up in bayside Melbourne, he never imagined living far from the city would be so different and so rewarding at the same time.
Now, the fourth-year Monash University medical student, along with his good friend Nab Mudunna, who are continuing their studies and medical training with Gippsland Lakes Complete Health (GLCH) in Lakes Entrance, are nearing the end of their five-month stint. And what a ride it has been.
Last year, the pair had worked together on placement in Sale, but in 2022 they opted to gain added rural practice experience in community health with GLCH in Lakes Entrance.
“After having such a good experience in the country last year – albeit interrupted by COVID-19 uncertainty – I decided to once again venture into the bush for another year of rural studies and boy, did I make the right decision,” Eddie said.
“I moved down here with my close friend and local Sale student, Nab, in mid-January and will complete my Lakes Entrance experience by the end of May, at which time I will head back to the hospital in Sale for the second semester of my studies.”
The self-confessed health fanatics have also been training with the Lakes Entrance Football Club to keep their eye in and stay fit, Nab saying the pair have been welcomed with open arms by the club.
“We have been extremely fortunate enough to train at the Lakes Entrance Football Club who have been nothing but welcoming,” Nab said at training last week.
“Ed and I don’t know many people around Lakes Entrance, so it has been extremely pleasant to socialise with all the footballers and get around the Lakes footy club culture. They have been an absolutely amazing club and have made our time in Lakes so much better.”
Both say their experience at GLCH has been extremely valuable, they’ve been welcomed by staff and patients and started hands-on learning from one day.
“The staff at GLCH immediately treated us with respect and confidence and made it their goal to present us with as many opportunities for growth and education as possible,” Eddie said.
“Not only were we encouraged to undertake our own consultations, with follow up by the doctors, but the doctors and the nursing staff also introduced us to procedural skills like skin excisions and electrocardiogram reading – all-important skills for our future in the medical industry.”
Nab, who will also complete the year back in his home-town of Sale, said the welcome in Lakes Entrance has been particularly warm, finding the work challenging and the staff and locals generous and encouraging.
“We’ve been made to feel like colleagues rather than students which has been an awesome feeling. We have gotten to work with all the GPs and all the nurses and been provided with a lot of freedom and flexibility which has allowed us to develop a lot as students,” the former Gippsland Grammar student said.
“We’ve also been given a lot of opportunities to see patients one on one, which has been my favourite thing, as it made me feel like a real doctor already.”
The duo say they’ve also been warmly welcomed to the area and have quickly found themselves at home enjoying at the region’s beaches, the bush and mountains.
“It’s such an amazing place to live with an overwhelming variety of landscapes to discover,” Eddie said.
“The Lakes Entrance Football Club has also been extremely kind and generous to us, allowing us to train and socialise with them from the moment we touched down in Lakes.
“We are so grateful for their support and wish the mighty Seagulls the best of luck for the fixture ahead!”
GLCH’s executive manager of Clinical and Nursing Services, Cheryl Bush, said it had been a pleasure to have such motivated and professional medical students join the clinical team, even if only for a handful of months.
“Eddie and Nab have become an important part of our clinic team in such a short space of time, we would love to have them back again in the future perhaps as GP Registrars,” Ms Bush said.
Eddie and Nab will see out the rest of their year on placement at the hospital in Sale.
Pictured: Monash University medical students Eddie Proper and Nab Mudunna at football training in Lakes Entrance last Thursday night. The Seagulls have kindly allowed both Eddie and Nab train with them twice a week while on placement at GLCH.