Professor John Cartmill and Associate Professor Alice Lee, MUHSC’s Clinical Program Head (Surgery and Gastrointestinal).
Professor John Cartmill and Associate Professor Alice Lee, MUHSC’s Clinical Program Head (Surgery and Gastrointestinal).

Standing out from the crowd

For Professor John Cartmill, Associate Dean, Clinical at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, it’s the integrated way of working at Macquarie University Health Sciences Centre (MUHSC) that will make all the difference to patients, students and staff. Here he shares his views on why our MUHSC is unique and what makes it a great place to work.

What makes MUHSC unique?
We offer a triad of excellence. We see that clinical excellence, research and learning all go hand in hand. And our centre is the only one of its kind in Australia.

We stand out because we have some of the nation’s best researchers, clinicians and academics working together to translate discoveries into best practice. That’s what will improve care. And we are absolutely committed to passing this on to the next generation of medical practitioners.

I believe you can’t provide excellent clinical care without research and teaching. We do a better job when there’s a student with us as well as when we are working closely with peers. Your performance is better when it is under a microscope.

What makes MUHSC’s clinical care world class?
We really do care. We seek to understand the patient’s experience and we do this by listening carefully and developing a relationship of trust.

And we always look for ways to do things better, bringing new ideas and evidence-based knowledge to the table. That’s what will guarantee our patients world class, innovative treatment.

What do you enjoy about working at MUHSC?
Your best practice can become my best practice. There’s a real collegiately. And having colleagues to share the experience with gives you the ability to bounce back the next day.

For example, I operate every Thursday with another colorectal surgeon, and many other Macquarie University Hospital’s surgeons also operate (cooperate) in pairs. When we are doing challenging cases, we are backing one another up, modeling this collegiality to our students and bringing out the best in one another.

This group practice model was one of the things that informed our approach for the clinic. We literally designed it into the clinic to the extent that we don’t have singleton offices. We have suites with a range of specialists.

In my clinic, we have colorectal surgeons, upper gastrointestinal surgeons, gastroenterologists and dieticians so that we can ask advice readily, cross refer and provide the best blend of treatment for patients from the most routine through to the most complex. Our specialists come together from across the city’s public institutions to work together at Macquarie and it is an absolute pleasure to be part of it. To practise together.

It’s this collaborative way of working that will give our patients the best outcomes.