We’re all familiar with the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? Some people know from an early age, while for others it can be a continual path of searching. For Crystelle Vanderplas it was clear early on she wanted to do something that involved serving the health needs of individuals, families and communities. So by the time she started high school it wasn’t surprising that she decided she would become a doctor.
Now in her fourth year of medical school at the University of Tasmania, Crystelle says she’s growing more passionate about practising rural medicine. It is this passion that earned her the Greg Norris Memorial Health Scholarship back in 2019. She says the scholarship helped ease some of the pressures associated with getting set up in her first few years of university.
“I was able to purchase many medical textbooks, medical equipment and my first car. I am very thankful and honoured!”
Crystelle is currently on her General Medicine rotation at the Mersey Community Hospital on the North West Coast of Tasmania.
“I’ve been developing my skills in areas such as history taking, examinations and procedures. As a student, it’s been so valuable to learn from patients with lived experiences of their condition. Not only does this help consolidate the theoretical knowledge I’ve learned but also most importantly brings out the human side of medicine. It’s a privilege to hear people’s stories while learning how best to help them.
“Every day I’m always learning something new and I wouldn’t want it any other way!”
Her stint on the North West Coast follows her general practitioner placement in Huonville and Bruny Island last year.
“This involved observing and participating in a variety of consults at the clinic in Huonville and Bruny Island, Huon Regional Care and home visits. It was great to begin putting much of my theoretical learning into practice with real patients. The doctors and nurses were enthusiastic to teach and got me involved as much as possible and I learned a lot in two short weeks!”
As she’s progressed through her degree, Crystelle said she has been inspired by Rural Generalists, “I’m inspired by their broad scope of practice, their specific expertise in emergency medicine, obstetrics, anaesthetics, or mental health and their commitment to delivering community-specific health care in rural areas.”
Crystelle believes working in medicine provides her an opportunity to make a difference.
When she’s not studying and practising, Crystelle enjoys spending time with her family camping and bushwalking. Growing up in Ranelagh grounded her love for the outdoors. Her childhood memories include kayaking the Huon River, cycling to Judbury and going for walks with her family.
“The bus ride home after long days at school in Hobart provided a welcomed break to appreciate the seasonal beauty of our valley.”
Photos courtesy of UTAS.