Dr Marion Mateos, final year paediatric trainee at Sydney Children’s Hospital
Why did you decide to specialise in paediatrics?
I completed a paediatric emergency term at Royal North Shore Hospital as a resident medical officer, which I loved. I then completed a year at Sydney Children’s Hospital, to see if I really liked paeds. Five years later, I’m still at it. I love being around kids. I love the energy that they bring, and their honesty. Kids are resilient, and tend to recover quickly. Working with the hospital team to help children through an acute illness is very fulfilling.
What do you like about the training/specialty?
It has been varied and challenging at the same time. It can also be quite flexible. For example, I was able to work part-time for 3 months when I was studying for my written examination. I enjoy working with like-minded colleagues and a strong multidisciplinary team. People will always put in the extra effort for a sick child.
Is there anything you dislike?
It can be pretty intense. Usually there are good outcomes, but when there aren’t, that is so tough. It is important to learn how to switch off, and honour your own personal and emotional boundaries. The on-call work can be busy and there are often overnight phone calls. It is very important to plan for holidays!
Do you plan to subspecialise?
I am currently dual-training in general paediatrics and haematology/oncology. My real passion is haematology/oncology. There is so much reward in treating children and being part of the family’s journey. I am also currently taking a step sideways by completing my community child health rotation in refugee health.
What do you want to do once you’ve finished training?
I hope to commence a research fellowship in oncology later this year, at the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. I will put that towards a Masters by Research through the University of New South Wales. Next year, I plan to move to Norway, as my husband is Norwegian, to do some more clinical work and research. In the longer-term I would ideally like to be based at a tertiary paediatric hospital in Sydney. I would also love to one day set up oncology partnership programs in developing countries, as I can speak Mandarin, French and Spanish.
Have you had any mentors in medicine?
Dr Jonny Taitz is a mentor from my intern days at North Shore. I continue to work with him now at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
I have several mentors within the Haematology/Oncology Department at Sydney Children’s Hospital. Each has, in his or her own way, been instrumental in my decision to continue training in this subspecialty. I am continuing research with them, which will lead to my Masters project and possibly a PhD in the future.
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