Luci Ferrier: Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine

“I’d like to specialise in psychiatry and addiction medicine in the long term. Last year in general practice I saw a lot of primary care patients and I saw how common mental illness and addiction issues are in the community.”

Luci Ferrier is keeping family tradition alive as a final year medical student. Her father is an anaesthetist and her mother is a nurse in Warrnambool, where Luci grew up.

“I began thinking about medicine as a career early on because I grew up in that world. I saw that my parents really liked their jobs and they happily worked in healthcare for years and loved it,” says Luci, 24.

“Mum and Dad have mostly worked regionally and they’re both from the country and I have that long-term goal of practising regionally, too.”

After graduating from Warrnambool College, Luci studied a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne before moving to the four-year Doctor of Medicine postgraduate program.  Her father and sister both studied at the University and recommended it to Luci and she also liked the idea of spending some time studying in Melbourne.

“I studied Biomedicine first so I could have a bit more breadth and explore different areas before settling on something. But during those studies I enjoyed anatomy and psychology and physiology and it crystallised for me that medicine would be a fascinating field. I also liked the idea of a career that was very person-centred,” says Luci.

Luci was also keen to be part of the Extended Rural Cohort stream that provides rural training for students interested in practising medicine in a rural or regional location. She spent her second year living and studying in Bendigo and has returned to Bendigo Health for part of her final year, too. Last year she did General Practice placement in Shepparton.

“I feel I got more chances to do procedural things like stitching, suturing, taking blood and putting in drips. There’s a lot more access to patients too and in the country, I find patients are generous with their time,” says Luci.

“We also get a lot more access to staff and in the big teaching hospitals, staff are always happy to teach. There’s a lot of mentorship and I really feel part of the workplace. There’s something special about being part of the community you work in and knowing the patients and community well.”

Next year Luci will return to Warrnambool as an intern at South West Healthcare Warrnambool Base Hospital. She’s committed to living and working in regional Victoria.

“I’d like to specialise in psychiatry and addiction medicine in the long term. Last year in general practice I saw a lot of primary care patients and I saw how common mental illness and addiction issues are in the community,” says Luci.

“Gaps in healthcare do exist in rural and regional areas purely because of lack of access and distance from the city where everything is concentrated. I’m excited to be going back to Warrnambool and I think my parents are pretty pleased that I want to work regionally – although I will be interrupting their empty nesting!”

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