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8 May 2019

A born and bred north Queensland Paediatrician

A born and bred north Queensland Paediatrician

For Townsville University Hospital paediatrician Jason Yates, it was the relationships he was able to develop with his patients that confirmed his love of the specialty.

“We had a girl with us as an inpatient for about 18 months.  The relationship we formed with her, with her family, and together as a team was special.

 “We’d come in and see her on our days off, and at Christmas.  You just don’t see that in other specialties or other places.  There were lots of rewarding moments, and it’s those moments where you realise the hard work is worth it.”

North Queensland born and bred, Dr Yates was among the first doctors to graduate from James Cook University’s medical school in Townsville. He went on to complete his internship at The Townsville University Hospital and took on the hospital’s first basic training position as a paediatric registrar.

After a stint in Brisbane Dr Yates returned to the north, where he’s now a consultant and Medical Director.  He credits the mentorship at The Townsville University Hospital for his career development.

“I’ve had great mentors all the way along. Paediatric people tend to be very generous with their time and it’s a very family orientated way of doing medicine.  So you come to work but you also socialize outside of work, you always feel part of something.”

And it’s those relationships and networks that continue to support him today.

“There are paediatricians here who were around when I was a first-year basic trainee.  They’ve really helped me through my career to the point where I am now a colleague, a peer and a Medical Director.  They’ve been an amazing support for me, and continue to be.

“The relationships within the Department are fantastic.  We all get on and are all on the same path.  It means the vision to make this a (paediatric) tertiary centre for north QLD is more likely to happen.”

And Dr Yates can’t speak highly enough of the benefits of training in northern Queensland.

“You’ve got more access to consultants.  I generally have one or two trainees, so they can come and see me anytime.  It’s much easier than if you have 15 trainees under you.  I feel like I actually get to know them as people.

“When I went through there were only two of us so we did all the cannulas, we did the long lines in the NICU.  We saw all these kids in clinics, we had really good exposure and were very good with procedures.

“You develop amazing skills.  When you go to the children’s hospitals you do very well, because you've worked on your own without a consultant sitting over your shoulder.

“Children’s hospitals tend to love trainees who come from regional centres because they are much more experienced in the day-to-day workings of how to manage children.”

Dr Yates believes continuity of care is another great benefit of training and working in the regions.

“You'll see a family for the first time and you will put a plan in place.  Then you will see them again. There are lots of positive stories that come out of that. You become a lot closer to the families and the patients, and you are more likely to develop that connection.”

And as for living in a regional centre, Dr Yates said the northern Queensland lifestyle is a definite selling point.

“The region has a lot of to offer in regards to relaxation and downtime. The community is very laid back, welcoming and family oriented.

“We’ll often have BBQs together, and there are about five Christmas parties because everyone is very inclusive and we all want to have fun.”

Find out more about Paediatrics training

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NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.

Cairns region
(07) 4226 8187

Central West region
(07) 4764 1547

Mackay region
(07) 4885 7122

North West region
(07) 4764 1547

Torres and Cape region
(07) 4095 6103

Townsville region
(07) 4781 3424