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Grand celebration for Bond medical program

December 21, 2021

Thejaani Aran and her graduating cohort of doctors at Bond University. Picture: Cavan Flynn

The 1000th doctor to graduate from Bond University always knew she was destined for a career in medicine - although her parents sometimes found the signs unnerving.

“As a kid I was really weird because I used to watch a lot of surgeries on TV,” said Thejaani Aran, who walked across the stage and into the university’s history books on December 14.

“My parents hate blood and so they thought it was a bit strange.”

Dr Aran graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Studies and a Doctor of Medical Studies along with 122 other newly-minted doctors, 16 years after Bond University launched its Medical Program.

Dr Aran is from Melbourne where she attended The Mac.Robertson Girls' High School.

Her proud parents were able attend the graduation ceremony, flying to the Gold Coast the day Queensland opened its borders. Pandemic lockdowns meant Dr Aran had not seen them for eight months.

“It has just been an incredibly, incredibly joyous day,” she said.

“We've all been looking forward to this for the past five years.

“At times it didn't seem like we'd make it, but we did.

“My colleagues have been such a great support. They are my second family here on the Gold Coast.”

Dr Aran said there were moments when she thought her dream of becoming a doctor might slip from her grasp.

“Even though I've always really wanted to study medicine, ever since I was a child, at times it didn't seem like that was going to happen.

“I went after other careers but eventually something just drew me to Bond. And I think it's the best decision I've ever made.”

Bond University offers the quickest route to becoming a doctor in Australia, made possible by an accelerated learning program that features small class sizes and a longer academic year.

Students graduate with a Bachelor of Medical Studies and a Doctor of Medicine in four years and eight months, compared to up to seven years elsewhere. 

Bond University Dean of Medicine Kirsty Forrest said hospitals and health services had told her Bond medical graduates were happier and more helpful, more self-confident and willing to be flexible.

“To have 122 new doctors with these attributes entering the workforce is a very substantial contribution to our health system, and one we are incredibly proud of,” Professor Forrest said.

“The passion and phenomenal efforts of this cohort, whose journey to becoming doctors has included weathering a global pandemic, has been inspiring.

“We look forward to welcoming our next 1000 medical students to Bond as our program continues to go from strength to strength.”

Dr Aran will begin her medical internship at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital next year and hopes to eventually become a surgeon.

She said she would treasure her time at Bond University.

“The campus is beautiful and I do like the fact that everything is much more intimate and a smaller cohort.

“You're able to get to know everyone one-on-one, and you get to know your lecturers.”

As well as the academic entry requirements, would-be Bond medical students undergo emotional intelligence testing to ensure they have the empathy to become good doctors.

Bond University began teaching medicine in 2005 with a first cohort of 72 students.

MILESTONES

2004: The Australian Medical Council approves Bond University’s proposal to offer a medical degree.

2005: First cohort of 72 students commences.

2005: Prime Minister John Howard opens the new Health Sciences & Medicine building.

2013: The university’s Kira Kira Clinical School commences in the Solomon Islands, with final-year students providing healthcare to remote communities.

2018: Bond University becomes the first university in Australia to introduce emotional intelligence testing for prospective medical students.

2019: Stage two of the Health Sciences & Medicine building is opened during the university’s 30th year.

2021: The Australian Medical Council approves a second annual intake of Bond medical students.

2021: The 1000th student graduates from the Medical Program.