17 July 2019
When Lucas Neilsen left the family home in Miles to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at USC he could never have predicted he’d end up working with trucks, just like his Dad.
The only difference is, while his father owns and operates a truck haulage business, Lucas is working as a cardiac medical aide on board a customised road train that’s been transformed into a specialist medical clinic on wheels.
“I graduated from USC in 2017 and earlier this year was successful in gaining a job with Heart of Australia,” Lucas said.
“Heart of Australia is run by Brisbane cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes and provides specialist cardiology and respiratory medicine to rural and regional areas throughout Queensland,” he said.
“Dr Gomes really has taken medicine to a whole new level and for me as someone who grew up in rural Queensland, I really understand the barriers that exist for people from the bush to get the medical help they need.
“Every day truly is different. One day I can be doing clinical work assisting with ECGs in Hughenden and the next day I can be at a community health day at Bauhinia Downs. It is such fulfilling work and it’s great to offer vital services that make such a big difference to country communities.
A graduate of Downlands College in Toowoomba, Lucas said he started his Biomedical Science program without a clear idea of what career path he would take.
“It really wasn’t until my last year of study when I did my 10-week fulltime work placement at the Sunshine Coast Heart Specialists at the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital that I found my passion,” Lucas said.
“Getting a foot in the door to the cardiac medical world was such a great eye-opener for me and I’m so grateful for the opportunity USC gave me.
“I have been lucky to maintain some work at the private hospital, as I do eight days on the Heart of Australia truck and then have six days off which allows me to get more hands-on clinical experience, and of course get back to the Sunshine Coast.”
USC Biomedical Science Program Coordinator Dr Nicole Masters said Lucas’ appointment to Heart of Australia is a wonderful example of the career pathways available to graduates of the program.
“Students in our Bachelor of Biomedical Science Program have the opportunity to complete at least one placement at a hospital, clinical trials centre, or biomedical institute. Alternatively, students can complete a research placement with one of our Biomedical Science research groups,” Dr Masters said.
“These placement opportunities provide our students with a practical experience in an area of their interest and this helps students to develop their professional network, further their knowledge and professional skills, engage in their prospective career and be more competitive graduates,” she said.
- Megan Woodward