New doctors bring diverse experience
Medical intern graduates Ken Lee and Helena Merrett at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

It has taken a series of radical career changes - from heritage work in art galleries and museums to time on the Fremantle wharf - for 35-year-old Ken Lee to find his calling.

But he already feels at home after only a few days in his new job at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital's acute assessment unit. He is one of 297 new doctors to start at WA public hospitals this year.

The father-of-one has qualifications in art history and pharmacy but his interest in science triggered a move into medicine.

"I just naturally had a progression from one thing to another, and now I'm keen to work in a very practical and hands-on role, perhaps in the surgery area," he said.

Fellow intern Helena Merrett has also changed direction, after working as a physiotherapist and clinical pilates instructor.

The University of WA medical graduate, 31, said it seemed a natural step-up after working in health care for nine years.

"I always wanted to do medicine, because it's more challenging, and I'd like to ultimately work in women and children's health," she said.

All medical graduates from the University of WA and Notre Dame University, including international full fee-paying graduates, were offered internships this year.

There are also 15 full-fee-paying international graduates of Australian universities starting as interns in the WA private health system who are fully funded by the Commonwealth.

AMA WA president Richard Choong welcomed the State Government finding internship positions for all Australian medical students studying in WA.

"WA has performed far better than the other States in this regard," he said. He added that WA Health should establish a comprehensive medical workforce plan to address the growing number of medical students.

The West Australian

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