Following on from our post last week where we announced the recipients of the 2022 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursaries, we are pleased this week to profile recipient, Dr Nicole Whitson, a Kamilaroi/Gomeroi woman and Obstetrics and Gynaecology Trainee (Non-Accredited). Nicole joins other recipients Ms Lauren Roth and Dr Sarah Jane Springer who have each been awarded a Bursary of $1000 to contribute to career, leadership and professional development activities.
PROFILE – Dr Nicole Whitson, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Trainee (Non-Accredited)
Dr Nicole Whitson is a Kamilaroi/Gomeroi woman whose career aspirations are to be an obstetrician and gynaecologist and to help improve the health outcomes for Indigenous women and their babies. She is currently working as an unaccredited registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology for Hunter New England Health.
Dr Whitson has previously worked as an Indigenous social worker in the Hunter region, helping with issues that included at risk youth, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol substance issues, domestic violence, anger management and education on safe sex. Before medical school, she worked in a pharmacy dispensary, and she supported herself financially during her medical studies working as a technician in the neonatal intensive care unit at my local hospital.
She has also taught Indigenous dance and cultural awareness since she was a teenager on a paid and voluntary basis and continues to do so.
“My journey to where I am today was defiantly not the traditional pathway. I completed my high school education in Year 10 and started my journey to becoming a social worker. I started university when I was 23, completing the open foundation bridging program to gain an ATAR to apply for medical school. I graduated from medical school with distinction and have always worked hard to in my role as a doctor to be a good clinician.
During my time as a medical student, I was the Newcastle AIDA representative, the first Indigenous officer for the Hunter resident group and….was selected for the first Wollotuka Indigenous Students International Leadership Program (WISILP) Participant and have been a formal mentor for the Pital Tarkin mentor program.
I have done and am currently completing research regarding Indigenous women and gynaecological cancer, Indigenous women and infertility and prolapse and more recently financial barriers to training. I am planning to further my research for Indigenous women to help close the health gap.
Training in obstetrics and gynaecology will enable me to give back to the community, especially working with Indigenous women and babies to help improve their mortality and mobility. I plan to work in rural/remote areas with high Indigenous communities. I also have a passion for reproductive medicine and making it not only financially accessible but available to all women, particularly Indigenous women and women from a low socioeconomic background, as this is historically a group of women who are under investigated and have limited access.”
Congratulations Nicole! Next week the AFMW will share Dr Sarah Jane Springer’s profile.
MBBS (Hons) FRACP FRCPA BMedSc
Vice President, Australian Federation of Medical Women Inc 2018-2022. AFMW Open Forum Convenor.
Past President, Queensland Medical Women’s Society 2016-2019.