Dave Schmude and Jack Hodges

Interview with UNE alumnus Jack Hodges

Meet UNE alumnus Jack Hodges, who studied at The University of New England from 2012 until 2016 and graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine. Since his time at UNE, Jack has encountered some amazing opportunities working as a doctor at the local Armidale hospital and most recently, he has been invited to join the medical team at the University equivalent Olympic games in Naples, Italy.

The World UniGames is a biannual event and will be held in July; during this time Jack will be tending to any medical concerns of the athletes around the village and will be part of the emergency unit on the sideline of certain events.

This is an amazing opportunity for Jack and something current students can aspire to. To find out more about Jack’s role in the games and his ventures after university, we sent off a few questions to Jack that discussed all things UNE, sport, and work-life post-graduation.

You’ve been graduated for almost four years now and during that time you have been living and working in Armidale, what are you currently doing in your career and what would be your favourite part about it?
I am currently working as a doctor in the emergency department at Armidale Hospital. The things I like most is seeing a high variety of case presentations, from high to low acuity and working with highly skilled doctors and nurses.

Looking back on your time studying at UNE, what would be your favourite memory about being a student at the university?
My favourite memory was getting up for 8 am lectures in July… No… the thing I really enjoyed was the feeling right after exams were finished for the semester when the work was done and I could finally relax. 😀

Each student has a different experience when at University, what was yours like at UNE and did you choose to study while at a college or did you live locally?
I lived locally while I studied as I had a young family with whom I lived in a house in town. My experiences during study, was hard work! But I had a decent balance between work, family, and exercise.

There are many students at UNE who aspire to be in your shoes! How did your experiences from UNE help you in your career after graduating and what is it like to receive that hard-earned certificate?
Receiving my degree was a great experience primarily for my family and an opportunity to thank them for all the support in reaching that milestone.
Aside from helping me to acquire the knowledge required to do my job, the experience at UNE introduced me to some important mentors who have guided me in deciding on future career options and offered a patient-centered approach which has been invaluable so far.

Family and friends are an important aspect of any student’s support group! Students balance many different demands while studying, and is an aspect of life that follows them after graduating – apart from your busy work life, what other commitments do you have?
Outside of work I am committed to my family of course. Personally, I place high importance on regular exercise. I don’t really have room for any commitments outside of that.

THE FUN STUFF

As you know UNE is really proud of our amazing Alumni and the successes they have!
We’re really excited about you traveling to Naples for the World UniGames and we have so many questions for you!
The games have many cultural elements but are centered mainly around the sporting competition. You mentioned earlier that you have a background in rugby, is sport a large passion of yours?
Sure is, I have played most sports at some stage or another and until very recently when I started rugby with the Armidale Blues. I continue to train regularly in the gym and am a keen follower of NBA basketball.

Have you been brushing up on your Italian? Italy is a whole other world and we are kinda jealous you get to visit such a beautiful city! What are you most looking forward to about the journey and most importantly, will you get a chance to do any sightseeing?
Si! No, not really, I’m hoping I can get by with English. The thing I’m looking forward to most is experiencing southern Italian culture for the first time and the Mediterranean summer. I’ve been promised the occasional break and I hope to visit Pompei and Mt Vesuvius. 🇮🇹

 The Summer Universiade is an amazing opportunity for student-athletes who aspire to compete in the Olympics, but you aren’t going there to compete – can you tell us about your role in the games and how you became involved?
I’ve been invited as part of the medical team. Our main job is to tend to the athletes’ concerns in the village and to be available at certain sporting events for emergency care. I have shown some interest in sports medicine before and I applied to the 2019 Universiade when someone I know told me they were looking for doctors. Luckily, my application was successful.

This will be an awesome experience no doubt! What do you wish to learn from this opportunity?
I hope to learn some pre-hospital medicine from the other experienced doctors and to see the approach to acute medical care in a setting outside Australia.

The World Uni Games will have thousands of people from all over the world swamp towards Naples, what sort of challenges do you think you may encounter working at the games?
Heat, crowds, language barriers, accessing medical resources like radiology and medication and organisational issues like arranging urgent transfer of care are amongst the difficulties we expect to face.

And finally, what are your favourite pizza topping?
All pizzas should have some form of cheese. 🧀

Jack, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! It is always a pleasure to highlight a students’ experience’s at UNE and to follow their journey post-graduation. Your interview has given insight to many students who may be studying a medical degree or have dual commitments with parenting. The World UniGames will be an amazing experience and we wish you the very best and safe travels in Italy.


Check out our last blog giving a little background to the event and a bit more on who Jack is traveling with here