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Dr Jessica Webb

17 May 2021

Jessica Webb is a year four FRANZCOG trainee, originally from Lismore, in the Northern Rivers region of far north New South Wales.
 
“As an Indigenous kid from rural NSW, with mediocre academic ability, I have been fortunate enough to be granted the opportunities to study medicine and to specialise in O&G. This privilege, or “success”, is something to be shared with the community.”
 
 
Where do you work?
At present, I work in Newcastle. I studied in Sydney and spent three years training there, then worked in Orange and Dubbo for a while. My journey here highlights to me that sometimes in life you get what you need, not what you ask for ­- it wasn’t my first preference, but I have had the best time.
 
Why did you choose medicine? 
Growing up there were no professionals in my family, however there were many footy fanatics, and I was quick to follow. I loved the game, but I became fascinated in the anatomy and management of their injuries. Initially, I aimed for physiotherapy but when I learnt the selection criteria was not too dissimilar to medicine, I thought, quite literally, that I could aim higher so I wouldn’t be disappointed.
 
Why O&G, in particular? 
In hindsight, I have always found pregnancy fascinating and thought mothers were the most special people in the world. I remember at aged eleven giving a family friend health advice during pregnancy (it was to quit smoking- so I was not wrong!!) So, my preference for O&G was subconscious, but my decision to pursue this profession rests with some excellent and inspiring doctors who encouraged me to do so.
 
What field do you work in and what are you passionate about in your field and why?
Currently, I am in year four of training, and taking maternity leave. My overarching ambition is to improve Indigenous health. As an Indigenous kid from rural NSW, with mediocre academic ability, I have been fortunate enough to be granted the opportunities to study medicine and to specialise in O&G. This privilege, or “success”, is something to be shared with the community. O&G is also the pinnacle of primary health. Through antenatal care, we can improve the overall health and social trajectory of a mother and her baby.
 
What does a ‘normal day’ involve?
Every day is different, which is why this profession is so great. One constant though is the predicament of needing to be on time to work. Sometimes this requires looking like a negligent parent by dumping my child in the midst of a colossal tantrum at a third party care provider, while I endure a possible lethal tachycardia running from the car park to the ward!!
 
What have been some of your biggest challenges and/or wins?
The biggest challenge is struggling with compassion fatigue. There are more wins than challenges thankfully. It is such a privilege to help a baby being born and usually you are the first person to touch this person on earth. I also really like helping nervous and vulnerable patients feel more at ease in their healthcare journey, and sometimes they just need a down-to-earth care provider.

Goals for the future?
Firstly, I have to pass a few training milestones! At the end of the day, I just want to be employed somewhere where my skills are of use to the people who need it.

How do you wind down?
Well, if I feel unnerved by something, it’s important to give it space to think it through and understand it. I usually do this on the drive home listening to music or venting to my long-suffering friends and colleagues. Paying attention to current affairs helps to maintain some perspective.

What do you do outside of work?
I love to read. Jane Austen is my favourite author, and the inspiration behind the name of my first son. Over-eating is my favourite hobby, and I am very good at it now after many years of experience! As a consequence, I have to exercise so I tell myself that is a hobby too!






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