High profile former Olympic athlete Jana Pittman has officially transitioned from athlete to doctor. The 37-year old is one of 47 interns to join Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals this week as part of their 2020 intake.
Pittman, the former world champion 400m hurdler and Olympian who later also competed in bobsleigh (the only woman to ever represent Australia at both Summer and Winter Olympic Games) is also a four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
The mother of three has juggled parenthood, work and study since commencing her medical training seven years ago, and has declared her new career will be “even better”.
Pittman said in a statement, “I loved my athletics career, representing Australia was gold, but I hope my future in medicine will be even better.”
“It’s one of those things where you think you’re never going to get there, but it shows that if you persist with something you love, then it just might happen.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard was present at Blacktown Hospital to welcome Pittman on her first day as intern, as well as the 46 others. According to Hazzard’s department, this year’s intake is the largest ever.
“I want to congratulate Dr Pittman and her colleagues and wish them every success as they start their medical careers at this state of the art facility,” Hazzard said.
“Dr Pittman had many wins as an athlete but swapping her running spikes for a stethoscope is a win for patients, and I thank her and the entire class of 2020.”
For years, Pittman has been a popular public speaker, her official website noting her to be an ‘Athlete, Mum, Author, Speaker and Future Doctor.’ In 2017 she published her autobiography, ‘Just Another Hurdle’, where she detailed her personal and professional struggles, including her relationship with fellow athlete Chris Rawlinson, her battle against bulimia, suicide and injury.
Last year, Pittman was one of several keynote speakers at 2019 Health Beyond Research and Innovation Showcase, which put the spotlight on south-west Sydney as a centre of innovation, collaboration and medical advancement. In September, she helped raise $760,000 to Western Sydney University, where she completed her studies in their Campbelltown campus.
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Oh my goodness… One degree done!! Just handed in my thesis! Big thanks to my supervisors Jo, Kim and Hannah for all your input and support. Two years in the making 🙂 Also thanks to the ACCF and the amazing women who shared their journeys with me. #cancer research #jobdone
A few months earlier, she spoke to the SBS about her cervical cancer scare, and her aspirations to help women overcome the discomfort to get tested. “”It’s one of the most preventable cancers in the world with regular screenings,” she said.
“Those five minutes of discomfort could save your life.”
Pittman has spent the past seven years juggling three children, work and study. Considering she was just 17-years old when she competed in her first Olympic Games in 2000, we will no doubt see more incredible work from this Australian gem, as she pursues her dreams to “work with women and pregnancy as an obstetrician/gynaecologist.”