Caring during COVID

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2020 has been a challenging year for many of us, but fourth-year UQ medical student Sikta Samantray hasn’t ever been one to let a hurdle like a pandemic get in her way.

While her Northside Clinical Unit placement was put on hold for a month during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, Ms Samantray made the most of some rare downtime to put together care packages for frontline staff at the Prince Charles Hospital.

“I saw how hard my preceptors and other frontliners around me were working, so I decided to cold call a number of companies who generously donated items such as fragrances, hand cream and tea for me to distribute at the hospital as a token of my appreciation.

“It was extremely humbling to see how eager companies were to jump on board, and really demonstrated how wonderful things can be achieved when people work together for the greater good,” she says.

This altruistic gesture is just one example of Ms Samantray’s kind nature, which was one of the catalysts for her to pursue a career in medicine and help make a difference in people’s lives.

“Providing happiness to others makes my heart sing. I love it when I see tangible positive change from my actions, which is why I find medicine so rewarding. Every interaction with patients brings me a sense of joy, knowing I am changing their life for the better,” she says.

Born in Norway and spending her formative years in the Middle East and Canada before moving to Australia to study medicine at UQ, Ms Samantray’s diverse upbringing and steadfast family support have helped shape her worldview.

“My travels have provided me with immense perspective. I have so much appreciation for dierent cultures and I know what makes people tick.

“As a child, I loved to be curious and immerse myself in any novel opportunity that came my way: from classical dancing to ice skating to more intellectual pursuits, which I think influenced me to become a person who seeks new opportunities, remains curious and has an open mind.

“My parents have also sacrificed a lot to help me pursue my dreams and I am forever indebted to them for their support and love,” she says.

For Ms Samantray, the decision to move halfway across the world to study at UQ was a dream come true, following in the footsteps of a close family friend who had done the same.

“Relocating to Australia to study medicine at UQ has been the best decision of my life and has helped me grow so much as a person. It may sound clichéd, but living alone has allowed me to become independent, work towards passion projects and find myself.

As for what’s next for Ms Samantray?

“I start my internship at Rockhampton Hospital in January. I’m particularly looking forward to continuing to be inspired by passionate people who are working towards something with determination, fire, and creativity.

“Overall, I am hoping 2021 holds more kindness, humility, and health for everyone."

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gerald Yeo and Sikta Samantray.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gerald Yeo and Sikta Samantray.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gerald Yeo and Sikta Samantray.

Sikta in protective gear at the hospital.
Fourth-year UQ medical student Sikta Samantray

This story is featured in the Summer 2020 edition of UQmedicine Magazine. View the latest edition here. Or to listen, watch, or read more stories from UQ’s Faculty of Medicine, visit our blog, MayneStream.