West in good health

Emma McLaughlin and her dad, A/Prof Stephen McLaughlin

By Tate Papworth

The doors are not yet open on the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital, but Sunshine Hospital is already reaping rewards.

Of Western Health’s 2019 class of medical interns, about a dozen cited the new hospital as a reason for applying to intern with the health service.

Doctor Emma McLaughlin is starting her career at Western Health and said it’s a dream come true.

“I’m very excited to be here. I’ve gone a bit of a roundabout way to get here. A lot of people go straight into medicine out of school and I went through the post graduate course at Melbourne Uni.

“It was a bit of a long way of doing it, but I wouldn’t change it because it gave me the opportunity to come here to Western Health and Western Clinical School.”

Dr McLaughlin said the soon-to-be-opened Joan Kirner Hospital also played a big part in her decision to join Western Health – she hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps as an obstetrician.

“Obstetrics is something I’m pretty passionate about and Joan Kirner is certainly going to become a centre for excellence for that over the coming years,” Dr McLaughlin said.

While Dr McLaughlin’s mother has inspired her career path, her father, Associate Professor Stephen McLaughlin, has been a surgeon for 32 years at the health service.

Dr McLaughlin had her first rotation with her father last week. Professor McLaughlin said it was a thrill to be working alongside his daughter.

“It’s great to be part of her journey. She’s done it all on her own – her mother has probably had more influence on her career path and getting into medicine than I have,” he said.

“It’s a tough gig obstetrics, but I think she’s got the necessary skills to cope with that.”

Professor McLaughlin said the health service had undergone a massive positive transformation during his tenure.

“Western Health has changed enormously … It’s trebled in size, all the specialties are represented except for cardiac surgery, it’s a phenomenal place to work,” he said.

“It’s been an honour to have worked here.”