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My journey to medicine: Exploring pathways to the Medical Program

For many students, the journey to studying medicine isn’t linear – and with a number of approved lateral entry pathways here at Bond, it simply doesn’t have to be. Studying a degree in biomedical science, allied health or healthcare innovations at Bond prior to commencing the Medical Program (CRICOS 0101292 and 111520H) not only offers a unique entry point into Year 2 of the program, but also builds foundational knowledge and strong transitional skills to prepare you for the fast-paced nature of life as a doctor.

We spoke to six students who’ve been there, done that, first pursuing alternate degrees in related health sciences and medicine disciplines, before entering the Medical Program via Bond’s lateral entry pathway. Here’s what they had to say about their initial studies in biomedical science, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and nutrition and dietetics, and their eventual transition into Bond’s celebrated Medical Program.

Lateral entry via the Master of Occupational Therapy(CRICOS 106625H)

Why did you decide to pursue study at Bond?

The main reason I decided to attend Bond University is because of the unique lateral entry experience that is offered by completing a postgraduate allied health degree such as the Master of Occupational Therapy. I’m also a very practical learner, so Bond’s ‘real world’ approach really appealed to me when deciding where to study.

Why did you choose occupational therapy?

After completing my Bachelor of Science, I had begun to research different degrees in the health sector in search of my next move. This is when I came upon the Master of Occupational Therapy at Bond and learned that it was an approved lateral entry pathway for the Medical Program. As I didn’t have a great understanding of what occupational therapy was, I did a bit of research to better understand the profession. I was struck by the diversity of the discipline and the way that occupational therapists think outside of the box to deliver care to their clients. With medicine at the back of my mind, I saw occupational therapy as a way to gain transferrable skills that could be beneficial to a future career as a medical practitioner.

What was your experience transitioning into Bond’s Medical Program like?

When I heard I’d received a place in the Medical Program, I was on cloud nine – overjoyed with emotions and a sense of accomplishment. I’ll never forget the way I felt! I began my medicine journey in January 2022 and am loving every second of it so far. At the beginning of the semester, it was a little challenging to find my feet starting as a second-year student, however the program’s teaching staff are so supportive and really prioritise providing resources for lateral entry students.

Ananya Banik

Lateral entry via the Bachelor of Biomedical Science(CRICOS 063085B)

Why did you choose to study biomedical science at Bond?

I chose biomedical science as it is a very versatile area that offers a pathway into the Medical Program, as well as building foundational knowledge for other medical disciplines. I was able to work in Bond’s laboratories from my very first semester, which really helped me to understand the world of medical research. Upon commencing my studies, I could see how brilliantly the program was structured – it started off by establishing basic knowledge around anatomy and physiology, which was then tied into the pathology of disease, and finally, research methods. This created a strong foundation for my further studies.

What was your experience transitioning into Bond’s Medical Program like?

I started the Medical Program via lateral entry in January 2021 and commenced directly into my second year. The process of applying for and gaining lateral entry was exciting, and I was lucky enough to have lots of support from Bond’s teaching staff and peers who had already gone through it and come out the other side. If I could give advice to other students considering this pathway, it would be to enjoy your time at Bond and in biomedical science as much as you can, and to be open to new opportunities both before and during the lateral entry process.

How are you finding the Medical Program now?

Studying medicine at Bond is a great experience. The medical societies on campus are regularly setting up events and mentoring opportunities and bringing in specialists from different fields for students to learn from. The clinical aspect of the program is also extremely exciting, as it allows you to go to placements at different hospitals and interact with real patients, effectively applying your knowledge way before you officially enter industry.

Atharve Sehgal

Lateral entry via the Doctor of Physiotherapy (CRICOS 111801K)

Why did you choose to study physiotherapy at Bond?

Throughout school I had friends in organised sport who frequently sustained injuries, which I found fascinating. I enjoyed learning about the various exercises and devices used in their recoveries, and found myself wanting to build meaningful therapeutic relationships with those undergoing this journey.

While still living in my home country of Canada, I read that due to the increasingly difficult demands of modern rehabilitation, most educational institutions had begun to offer high-level physiotherapy programs like Bond’s Doctor of Physiotherapy. As nothing like this was available in Canada at the time, Bond seemed like a great choice – plus, the temperature in my hometown hovers around -20 degrees Celsius for an unbearable portion of the year, so the sandy Gold Coast beaches seemed like an easy trade!

What was your experience transitioning into Bond’s Medical Program like?

When I learned I had been chosen for the Medical Program, I was elated and felt a deep accomplishment in having been given a chance to maximise my potential while also contributing to the health of the community. January 2020 was my first semester in the program; a true trial by fire considering the concurrent bushfires and rise of a global pandemic!

I’m very fortunate to be in the Medical Program and to have this opportunity to stretch myself academically. My background in physiotherapy prepared me well for a medical degree as it enhanced my communication skills and strategies ready to interact with patients. I’ve really enjoyed developing friendships with the incredible people around me in the program, and I look forward to these becoming important professional relationships after graduation.

Do you have any advice for students considering lateral entry pathways to medicine at Bond?

Many students studying allied health, especially physiotherapy, contemplate medical studies. At first, I was hesitant to apply for the Medical Program with the Doctor of Physiotherapy already under my belt, however the more patients I saw out in practise, the more I wanted to have an even greater impact on the quality of their care. If you wish to broaden your scope as a practitioner, and fill any knowledge gaps left from previous studies, the Medical Program via lateral entry is a sensible – and fulfilling – choice.

Jason Movshovich (left)

Lateral entry via the Master of Nutrition and Dietetic Practice (CRICOS 105326E)

Why did you choose to study nutrition and dietetics at Bond?

I had always wanted to do medicine, and once I learned that nutrition and dietetics was an approved – and accelerated – pathway into this program at Bond, I could see the value knowledge in this area would add to my future practice as a doctor. Nutrition is an often overlooked, yet very important, component of most medical settings.

The Master of Nutrition and Dietetic Practice at Bond is a fantastic program with great people and small class sizes. Placement opportunities included working in a clinical setting at the Mater Hospital, designing menus for high-risk populations at Robina Private Hospital, working with refuge families as part of the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops, and assisting elite athletes in Hong Kong! The program also has a big research focus, which ultimately led to getting published and great professional opportunities for me.

What was your experience transitioning into Bond’s Medical Program like?

I commenced the Medical Program in 2020. I’ve just started my clinical years doing a general medicine rotation at the Wesley Hospital, which has been challenging, but also a great look into what working as an intern will be like. Medicine is definitely one of the more stressful disciplines, so I’m lucky to have met amazing people at Bond and to have begun developing lifelong friendships and connections.

Joshua Pearcy (second from right)

Lateral entry via the Master of Occupational Therapy (CRICOS 106625H)

Why did you choose to study occupational therapy at Bond?

I have always been interested in the health field, and I loved that occupational therapy would allow me to make a difference in people’s lives, so it seemed like a good fit. Occupational therapy is so broad, and creates opportunities to work with people spanning all ages and abilities. I decided to pursue my OT studies at Bond specifically because of the smaller class sizes, the ability to get one-on-one help from academics, and the accelerated program structure.

I really enjoyed the Master of Occupational Therapy program. I loved that we were all given the opportunity to develop our clinical practical skills early on in the program, using simulated patients, and I also appreciated the broad range of placements we could undertake. Lecturers at Bond go above and beyond for their students and offered great support and guidance throughout the program.

What was your experience transitioning into Bond’s Medical Program like?

I was so happy when I learned I had been successful in gaining a place in the Medical Program. I was excited to start my journey to becoming a doctor, and to be able to continue making an impact in the medical field.

I commenced the medical program in January 2021 and am really enjoying the program so far. Entering into second year was challenging, as it was a big adjustment to the workload after not studying for a few months. However the lecturers were very supportive, and it was nice to have the group of lateral entry students around me so we could work through these challenges together. I believe that the Master of Occupational Therapy program helped me fine-tune my communication skills, and this has been very beneficial when taking patient histories and doing physical exam sessions in the Medical Program.

Leandre Conradie (second from right)

Lateral entry via the Bachelor of Biomedical Science (CRICOS 063085B)

Why did you choose to study biomedical science at Bond?

When I decided to study again, I discovered that none of my prior university qualifications were valid past the 9-year mark. While most other universities made the process of recommencing my studies seem difficult and daunting, Bond provided a personal approach. I still remember meeting Dr Christian Moro on my first visit to Bond, and appreciating his enthusiasm and passion for teaching, and the time he devoted to me as a prospective student.

I chose biomed because I wanted to form a strong health and science background, with insight into medicine and allied health. Biomedicine met this criteria and also provided a steppingstone into the Medical Program. I found this program quite intense, but thorough and concise in delivering the content that has now become the foundation for my medical studies. Lecturers at Bond make everything interactive and fun, and are all very approachable and willing to help.

What was your experience transitioning into Bond’s Medical Program like?

When I found out I’d been offered a place in the Medical Program, I was ecstatic. Being a mother of two children, not having studied for 20 years, and never having studied at an Australian university prior to coming to Bond, I was just so grateful I’d been given the chance to fulfil my dreams, based on my own merits and without any bias.

I started the Medical Program in January 2019, and I am absolutely loving it. I’m now in Year 4, and have begun placements in various hospitals – everything I learned in the pre-clinical years makes so much sense now!

Do you have any advice for students considering lateral entry pathways to medicine at Bond?

I think that the lateral entry pathway is very unique in the sense that an undergraduate degree in biomedical science (or similar) provides a solid foundation for building a medical career. You have the background knowledge prior to commencing the program and are better equipped to grow and evolve into a well-rounded healthcare professional as a result.

My experience so far has really taught me that if you persist, you’ll find a way to achieve what you want. Medicine is a very challenging, demanding and sought-after discipline, but if this is where your passion lies, it’s worth pursuing. Yes, you need good grades – but you also need endurance, energy, empathy, compassion and dedication. Speak to your lecturers, as each one will have pearls of wisdom that will improve your journey; and talk to current students as you’ll be able to gain a lot from their experiences as well.

Sheetal Khagram

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