Why did you decide to train in this specialty?
When I initially studied medicine I was planning to specialise in surgery but I discovered that I particularly liked working on the head and neck, and cranial and facial area, and maxillofacial surgery offered me a unique opportunity to work in just that region. I also liked the fact that the work is not monotonous — it ranges from minor oral surgery to quite extensive maxillofacial procedures.
What do you like most about your training so far? This specialty offers a unique opportunity to train and work across two different disciplines: medicine and dentistry. The training has been well structured and the consultant-led teaching approach in theatre was excellent. The training is also consistent between New Zealand and Australia, which has allowed me to travel between the two countries during my training.
What do you dislike or find challenging?
As part of the training I had to complete a second professional degree. In my case, my second degree was in dentistry and while I was studying I was not getting paid, so financially it was a big struggle compared to other surgical specialties. While completing the three extra unpaid years at university, I worked as a locum doctor.
I plan to move to Melbourne to do a fellowship year at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital, subspecialising in my area of interest, orthognathic (jaw) surgery. Then, after 15 years of training, I hope to get my first real job as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
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