BUNDABERG SWEET BUNDABERG: Courtney Rasmussen is glad to be back home after living in NSW for the duration of her university degree.
BUNDABERG SWEET BUNDABERG: Courtney Rasmussen is glad to be back home after living in NSW for the duration of her university degree. Toni Benson-Rogan

Happy homecoming: New doctor returns to Bundy roots

IT'S easy to get homesick living in a different state to your family, so becoming an intern at Bundaberg Hospital was the best medicine for one newly graduated doctor.

As the eldest of nine children, Doctor Courtney Rasmussen described her family as organised chaos.

She grew up in Bundaberg with a buddy system, where the older kids in her household had to make sure a younger sibling was ready for school every morning, so it was a drastic change when she moved to Newcastle, New South Wales to follow her dream of becoming a doctor.

It was anything but an easy ride for this ambitious student.

Dr Rasmussen had to take a two-year break from her course to ensure she was financially stable, but through determination and with such supportive parents, she completed her studies with an under-graduate degree in medicine.

"I wasn't eligible for any assistance to get to university, and unfortunately my parents weren't able to support me financially, so I took two years as a gap year working in community pharmacy to basically save up some money and become eligible so I could get some support while (I was) away at uni," she said.

"I had so many people tell me 'don't take a gap year, if you take a gap year you'll never go to uni' but it was exactly what I needed to be able to be in a position to feel comfortable going to university."

She said her family's support while she was away kept her going when times got tough.

"I took on two part-time jobs to get through uni but at the end of the day, medicine is quite a taxing thing emotionally and having people to call home and talk to... it made such a difference and I'm so thankful that my family was able to be that support for me," she said.

Bundaberg Hospital was fortunate in successfully obtaining extra funding to increase the amount of interns that could be hired this year, with 27 recently graduated doctors joining the team compared to last year's 18.

The increase, and a successful application, meant it was finally time for Dr Rasmussen to return home and begin her career with her parents and siblings by her side.

She said she was overjoyed to be back in the Rum City, with all but one of her siblings still living in the area.

"It really was about coming home to my family, I've still got all of my family in the area... and I always knew I wanted to come back," she said.

"It's amazing to be back home, you plan out your life and home is like the end point... it's really good to be home with family."

As an intern, Dr Rasmussen will undergo training courses in a wide range of sectors at the hospital, gaining experience while she figures out which area appeals to her the most.

"The idea is to just hone my skills even further, keep learning, keep becoming a better doctor," she said.

The 27 new doctors toured the hospital yesterday before beginning the next step in their careers.