When the student becomes the teacher

What do the best and brightest of UQ Medicine do when they leave the historic sandstone campus corridors? Some, like Rachel Colbran, end up sharing their knowledge with the next wave of wide-eyed medical students.

One of UQ Medicine’s passionate 2016 graduates, Rachel was the class valedictorian with an impressive GPA of 6.94. She received a myriad of awards, was actively involved in student life, and published photos in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Now spending 2017 at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for her internship year, Rachel has started teaching second year UQ medical students as a clinical coach. The recent graduate is enjoying passing her knowledge on to others.

“This is the first hospital experience these students have,” says Rachel, “and it has been really rewarding to lead them to new patients each week and teach them about clinical examination, physical markers of disease and treatment approaches. I remember my own clinical coaches from second year medical school very well, and continue to see them around the hospital even now.”

Rachel says it’s a little surreal to have now stepped into their shoes and be teaching her own students

“I try my best to encourage my students to be fascinated about medicine, and enjoy learning about new things from kind patients in a non-threatening environment. I will always remember that feeling of trepidation when I was asked to examine my very first patient in front of a group of my peers!”

Rachel Colbran
Professor Stuart Carney, Rachel Colbran and Professor Robyn Ward. 

Professor Stuart Carney, Rachel Colbran and Professor Robyn Ward. 

Before moving to Brisbane, Rachel spent five-years in Armidale in rural New South Wales. She dreamed of becoming a vet, but a cat allergy stopped that career before it began. An illness in her own family saw Rachel’s interests turn to medicine and surgery.

In late high school, one of my close family members was diagnosed with cancer. Witnessing first-hand the struggle she went through motivated me to study medicine. Medicine appealed to me in several ways– I would be able to apply my love of science to helping others, and I would always be learning.

That passion for learning and education has clearly paid off for Rachel. Aside from her plans for a career in surgery, she also hopes to pursue medical research. “I am very interested in research and hope to be actively involved in the future. There are infinite medical discoveries to be made, and I am excited to be living in an age when we are close to curing previously lethal diseases.

“I am very attracted to a career in surgery, and the possibility of developing new surgical procedures and technology to enable better patient outcomes. I am grateful to be living in Brisbane, which is home to numerous world-class research institutes, many of which are associated with UQ.”

Rachel Colbran

Rachel clearly isn’t fazed by the busy hospital lifestyle – she is currently working towards publishing a research paper with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

“Everyone at the PA has been amazingly supportive, and all the interns really stick together and encourage each other.The registrars in my general medicine round have been such lovely people and make work rewarding and fun. I loved medical school, but working in the hospital full-time, you really see the full picture. You build relationships with patients and see the difference we make on a daily basis.”

With the rest of 2017 to see out as an intern, Rachel looks forward to working as a clinical coach and helping students whenever she can.

“Studying medicine has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I look forward to developing my knowledge and sharing it with others to continue my career in medicine and research.”

Rachel Colbran

No doubt we’re in safe hands with young doctors like Rachel at the helm of our medical workforce.

Rachel Colbran is now completing her internship at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.