A diagnosis of care and compassion

In his desire to become a doctor, Sina Adl is becoming ever more aware of the balance between the clinical and the compassionate.

Through his studies at Griffith University, his hospital volunteering and the impact of health and medical events on himself, family and friends, Sina is striving to ensure that the doctor he becomes is the best doctor he can be.

“I’m studying a Bachelor of Medical Science and that will lead into a Doctor of Medicine in 2018,” says Sina, the recipient of a Griffith Futures Scholarship.

These scholarships are awarded to students who are excelling in their studies while also facing the challenge of financial or personal hardship.

“I’d love to become a physician, although I’m still not sure about where to specialise,” says 20-year-old Sina, who was only five when his parents emigrated from Iran to Australia.

“I’m drawn to a number of areas where I believe I could make a contribution to the community – oncology, paediatrics, cardiology, gasteroenterology.

“But without the generosity funding the scholarship, my parents and I faced a big financial challenge.

“I’ll be moving to the Gold Coast for my studies, so that will mean renting somewhere to live; plus there is the cost of textbooks and essential medical equipment.

“Now we have some peace of mind, and that is such a gift.”

As a youngster, any thoughts Sina may have had about medicine were based more on his constant visits to the doctor.

“I was one of the most accident-prone kids you could ever meet. When I was two I swallowed a bottle of my dad’s heart pills. I was always at the doctor,” he says.

Today, however, Sina is dedicating himself to being the one dispensing the medical advice and treatment; not receiving them.

This ambition is revealing itself in many ways, especially in his volunteer work at Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

It’s a rewarding role that includes helping children when they emerge from surgery, and taking the burden off nurses’ shoulders by supporting anxious patients.

If time permits before or after his shifts, being on-site also provides invaluable insight into the facilities of a modern hospital and the possibilities of modern medicine.

Importantly, volunteering has broadened Sina’s understanding of the emotional side of medical care.

“My grandfather died when I was 11 and that was very hard for me and my family,” he says.

“Then in 2016 a friend of mine passed away from cancer. During his illness, that’s what motivated me to join the volunteering program at Lady Cilento.

“I read a quote recently that said: the good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.

“Medicine makes you so self-aware and that was me at the start, over-analysing everything and thinking about the process more than the patient.

“Now I’m more considered. I realise the importance of compassion and I know what it means to patients and their loved ones.”

Sina hopes to do more volunteering, including overseas, and eventually would like to work in rural Australia, where access to medical care is limited, but the need is greatest.

“Sometimes I ask myself: why am I doing this? How will I matter as a doctor?” he says.

“In a world with so many people, my motivation is to not drown in the crowd, but to rise and make my life matter by helping those most in need.”

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