Dr Devini Ameratunga

Dr Devini Ameratunga2022-08-18T10:37:57+10:00

Specialist in IVF, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Senior Registrar Mater Hospital, Medical Lecturer University of Queensland

Speech extract from the Awards and Acknowledgement Evening 2012

It was a walk down Memory Lane to come back to Brigidine after graduating 20 years ago. I wasn’t exactly a star pupil in the traditional sense but I think I took advantage of a variety of things that I really enjoyed doing. Apart from all the school dances, formals and semi- formals, I remember taking part in Public Speaking, a Rock Eisteddfod and a fashion parade. Drama was the subject I enjoyed most and I remember playing lots and lots of sport. I was a Prefect and Athletics Captain back then, mainly because it was hoped these roles would keep me out of trouble!

When I told my family I was going to be Guest Speaker at Awards and Acknowledgement Evening, my brother piped up “Why you, it’s not like you’ve done anything!” That’s what it’s like being in a family of high achievers. But the truth is, upon reflection, I reckon I have achieved something; I get to do what I love every day: something that I’m passionate about, something that amazes and excites me and I get to help people along the way. I think that’s an achievement, don’t you?

Wandering Career Path

When I was in Year 12, I had no idea what I really wanted to do. And that’s okay…sometimes we need a bit of time. All I knew was that I liked sport and working with my hands. I certainly wasn’t interested in Medicine.

I eliminated careers until I finally plumped for Physiotherapy and I’m so glad I did. It allowed me to travel, to get a good foundation and, when I did finally decide to go into Medicine, I was ready. It all just proves the point that there’s not just one way to finally end up where you want to be.

Excitement of Finding your Passion

There are now many different facets to my life. I have finished my speciality in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with a special interest in minimally invasive surgery. I work at one of the largest maternity hospitals in Australia and I’ve started my private practice in fertility and Gynaecological Surgery in 2013. I am a lecturer at the University of Queensland Medical School and I still have to study, present and do research, all the boring stuff that comes with my job. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s a great place to be – for me.

The excitement of performing surgery, the thrill of delivering a baby when delivery is essential within minutes, far outweighs the few really, really hard times that you can imagine comes with such responsibility.

Advice to Young Women

No matter at what stage of life you are at, I would like to give you something to think about:

Embrace the simple and do it well:

For instance, when I was at University of Queensland, I got a job as a Physiotherapy Assistant. It was such an easy job, but I really liked my course and what being a Physiotherapist entailed so I embraced it. I worked hard at the really simple things like being organised, cleaning the clinic, making sure I gave good massages and basically contributing to the business as best I could. This, of course, led to an amazing job offer as soon as I graduated. I find this philosophy still true to this day. People notice and opportunities arise when you are seen to be passionate about what you do and how you do it.

Explore all possibilities:

As most of you probably feel, school is only just the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, school was great fun but the world out there is even better if you are open to opportunities that come your way.

The reason we put so much effort into our schooling is because it is the foundation – to everything! Whether it be arts or the sciences, take every opportunity that presents to you. You never know – it might ignite an amazing passion!

Be passionate about things that matter:

My hope is that you all find something that you love to do, something that you embrace with all your heart, something that you invest your time and energy into. It just has to be something you love, because it’s an amazing feeling to get up each day and want to go to work. Unfortunately, women still have many battles to face. You may know that more than 50% of graduates from our medical schools, law schools, economics and arts are women but only a fraction of our leaders, CEOs and managers are females. As Brigidine women, we are taught the foundations of how to function in society, whether it be as leaders or not. It’s still really hard in many professions, including mine, but obviously, we’ve come a long way and all of us are taught by our parents that we can achieve anything. And we can.

Just open your eyes, be open to opportunities, work hard and utilise your gifts. And, I promise you, the choice to one day do, what you love to do, will await you.

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