Dr Jillian Lau is an Infectious Diseases registrar at Box Hill.  Throughout her junior doctor years, various specialties stood out to Jillian. Her enthusiasm for surgery and cardiology were dampened by the lifestyle sacrifices she would have to make, while the variety of ED was made too stressful with the introduction of the infamous “4 hour rule”. We learn why the simple reason she chose to do an ID rotation in her residency led to her pursuing it as a career pathway, despite failing her first exam!

Jillian touts the myriad “lifestyle” benefits of ID, including the lack of bedcards, emergencies, overtime and on-call work. Working mainly with other teams, she is able to both enjoy the benefits of liaising with a multidisciplinary team – ranging from podiatrists and pharmacists to allied health and nurses – while structuring her own day based on the priority level of her referrals. The specialty keeps her on her toes with the variety of patients encountered, most of which she is able to cure or restore quality of life to. Consultants are flexible when it coms to job sharing and maternity leave. This specialty almost sounds too good to be true!

Yet all medical pathways come with caveat(s). For Jillian, this is mainly the frustration involved when the bedcard specialty team discards her carefully-crafted advice. Each patient encounter involves a great detail of documentation, which (she jokes (?)) “surgical interns use as discharge summaries”. Moreover, the rise of multi-drug resistant organisms has complicated once straightforward patient management. Jillian sees judicious use of antibiotics as a cornerstone of future changes in the ID sphere.

We talk about the various subspecialties in ID – including travel medicine, microbiology, and why infections in pregnancy is a niche waiting to be explored by students. Most of these involve cobbling together part-time positions, which Jillian sees as both an advantage and drawback of modern medicine. However, she gives us a tips regarding networking, internship and research to help us enter and enjoy our field.

If you have any other questions you’d like us to ask Dr Jillian Lau, fill out the form below or shoot us a message!

Pathways into Infectious Diseases

Medical School → Internship → Basic Physicians Training (3 years Full Time Equivalent) → Advanced Physicians Training in Infectious Diseases (3 years Full Time Equivalent)

Source: Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases


Unfortunately, no data was available regarding the salary of Infectious Diseases consultants.

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TMC023: Infectious Diseases with Dr Jillian Lau
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