LIVING in the city his whole life, West Perth resident Nic Mattock (23) did not ever envisage pursuing a career in the country.
However, after recently completing a six-month internship with Patches Paediatric doing rural outreach work with children with brain disorders, the second-year UWA medical student has changed his tune.
“I applied for the internship through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship and was lucky enough to get it,” he said.
“I’m very fortunate to come from a white, upper-middle class family, with no engagement with communities outside of mine before, so I was looking at how I would exercise some change in that domain.”
During the internship, Mr Mattock travelled with a paediatrician and clinical psychologist to the Kimberley, diagnosing and intervening with children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
“There is a high proportion of people in the indigenous community with FASD, which is a neurodevelopment condition babies get when they are exposed to alcohol before birth,” he said. “The idea of Patches is to bring the services to the communities, rather than they come to you.
“When they are eight hours or so from Broome, they’re less likely to go.”
Mr Mattock said being able to make a difference was most appealing.
“Rural medicine wasn’t something I thought about doing until I went up there and now it’s what I want to do,” he said.
“You look at communities here; we all have access to services.
“Whereas you go out to these communities and take these services to them, you make a huge difference and it is life-altering.”