One of the 24 medical graduates who have started work as intern doctors at Sutherland Hospital feels right at home.
Nicole Minto was born at Sutherland Hospital in 1990 and grew up in the shire, attending Engadine Primary School and Engadine High School.
Now living at Cronulla, Dr Minto and her colleagues were welcomed to the hospital by state MPs Mark Speakman, Eleni Petinos, Lee Evans and Melanie Gibbons.
Over the next two years, the new medicos will rotate with 43 interns at St George Hospital, which had one of the state’s biggest intakes.
Sutherland Hospital also has 54 new graduate nurses and midwives working in wards and services.
Dr Minto studied medical science at the University of Wollongong before studying medicine at the University of Notre Dame
She has spent the last two years of her studies working in hospitals.
Dr Minto said she listed Sutherland Hospital and St George Hospital as her first preference for internship.
“I love being back in the shire because my family and partner are here,” she said.
”I know a lot of people at the hospital, such as nurses and dieticians, some from medical science undergraduate studies and school.
“I worked in Melbourne last year and its also nice to be close to the beach and have warmer weather.”
Dr Minto said it wasn’t until she was nearing the end of her medical science degree that she thought seriously about continuing on to study medicine.
”It was so different for me because everyone had come from private schools and had been on the path to medicine since Year 7,” she said.
A positive experience at Sutherland Hospital influenced her decision to study medicine.
Her grandfather, who was 90 and lived with her family, became ill while her parents were away.
“I had to take him to Sutherland Hospital, and the doctors in the emergency department, particularly one female doctor, were very nice to him and helpful,” she said.
”I was was already thinking about medicine, and that sort of encouraged me.
”I like science and human science, but I didn’t want to work in a laboratory.”
A record 999 medical graduates have started work in hospitals across the state, under the NSW Government’s $107 million internship program.
The number of interns across the state has risen from 992 in 2017 to 999 this year.
Intern positions are guaranteed to all domestic medical graduates for NSW universities.
NSW also provides internships to many graduates from interstate universities and international full-fee paying medical graduates.
It is the only state to offer two-year employment contracts to graduates commencing their internship which includes a rotation through a network of metropolitan, regional and rural hospitals.
Under the NSW Rural Preferential Recruitment pathway, 132 medical graduates will spend the majority of their first two years working in a rural setting. This year’s program includes 20 Aboriginal doctors commencing their internship.