QRGP intern and Yawuru woman Dr Julia-Rose Satre was raised in Rubibi, Broome, Western Australia, and Gimuy, Cairns. Her love for medicine grew whilst her father was experiencing extensive health complications. After spending years visiting him in the local hospital and familiarising herself with the compassionate healthcare heroes caring for her father, she knew she wanted to become a doctor and return home with the skills and knowledge needed to care for her community.
Julia was supported via the QRGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Intern Allocation Initiative, to return to Gimuy to undertake her postgraduate training, where she has the support from her family and friends.
Julia shares her journey to medicine and future aspirations below.
My love for medicine
Since embarking on my journey through medical school, I always admired physicians in the big hospitals, but always knew conventional medicine was not for me. My calling has always been to return to country and work as a bush doctor. I didn’t know what my journey to rural generalism would look like but returning home to help the people around me has always been my driving force.
Growing up in places where access to health services were limited, I saw the direct impact of this limitation within my own family. I knew with the opportunity I was given in this life, I had to do something to give back to the people who had given so much to me. The people I come from, the people who stand beside me and support me and the people I serve, will always be my driving influence in life.
I first heard about QRGP and the QRGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Intern Allocation Initiative whilst attending an RDAQ conference in one of my earlier years of medical school. I spoke with someone at the QRGP stand who informed me of the initiative, and after making contact post RDAQ they guided me through the process prior to applying in my final year of medical school.
The QRGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Intern Allocation Initiative enabled me to come home. It was reassuring to know that the sacrifices I made during medical school in leaving my family, friends and home, would enable me to return back to country.
My mentors have evolved throughout life. The elders from my home who have played the biggest impacts on my life were my Nana Julie and my Great Granny Rosa. Nana Julie was a significant role model in my life, she taught be how to be tough, but also kind and compassionate. She always had time to teach me about life, passing down her wisdom and knowledge. These were and forever will be, some of the strongest, resilient women I’ll ever know. I am so fortunate to have grown up knowing them, and to continue to grow knowing their spirits walk with me.
Throughout my professional years at university, I always looked up to prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who have walked the path before me. These included health professionals such as the late Dr Puggy Hunter, Dr Sarah McEwan/Springer and Dr Louis Peachey. They have all played a major role in shaping the type of clinician I aspire to one day be.
My future as a Rural Generalist
My future is not set in stone. My long term ambition is to return home and work on country, even though the road along the way may take me down many different routes. I have a deep seated passion for women’s business and birthing on country and will eventually undertake my Advanced Skills Training (AST) in obstetrics. For the next few years my aim is to keep my clinical learnings broad, learn as much as I can, meet as many people as I can, and learn how I can have the biggest impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
My advice to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students thinking about a career in medicine or a career in rural generalism, would be this. The journey down the path of medicine is long and hard and you have to be prepared to get knocked down more times than you can possibly count. I do promise this though, the hard days will pass and every time you get knocked down, you’ll stand back up. The opportunities ahead of you are endless. I promise the good days, and you’ll know when they are, will make every single bad day worth it.
Dr Julia-Rose Satre
QRGP trainee, Cairns