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Candy Kwan

I am an inquisitive womxn, learning more everyday.

Candy is a general practitioner and mother to an active 2 year old boy. As a relatively new mum, she’s still learning to juggle work, parenting and self-care. When she’s not looking after patients or chasing after her toddler, she’s often slumped on the couch watching Bluey or garbage trucks on TV. 

I think I am in the trough of the Dunning-Kruger curve where I’ve only recently started to realise how much I don’t know about life! There is so much more to learn and experience in our world and I am excited about this. 

What's easy for womxn?

Community. I know a lot of womxn who do a great job banding together in communities, reaching out for help, and actively offering help to those who need too. 

What's difficult for womxn?

Self-assurance. Many of my wonderful girlfriends are beautiful and talented, but struggle to believe in themselves. 

How do you maintain mental health?

Board games - our current household favourites are Pandemic and Bananagrams. Music - my talented partner plays the guitar and sings like an angel - I enjoy singing along. I also love listening to classical music, especially anything featuring the harp or mandolin!

What brings you joy?

Our son, Connor - he is the absolute light of my life. It's wonderful seeing the world through the eyes of a toddler. An empty toilet paper roll becomes a trumpet; a blanket becomes a lion-dance costume. Watching him grow, I'm developing a new appreciation for the little things in life.

How do you nurture your relationship with nature?

I enjoy going for walks through the local parklands. The sunsets around Kedron Brook are spectacular.

Where do you feel a sense of belonging/community?

In my workplace - my practices have wonderful staff who are kind, considerate and funny too! I feel fulfilled helping my patients through their ups and downs, through all stages of life. 

Where do you live/work?

I currently live and work in beautiful, sunny Brisbane, Turrbal Jagera country. 

Describe a time when you have experienced racism/sexism...

I am a firm believer that most of the time, racist or sexist seeming behaviours are based in ignorance. When I was working as a junior doctor in emergency, a patient initially refused to see me as she wanted an "English speaking" doctor.  I was so taken aback, initially hurt, then angry. The nurse on my team backed me up, and I gathered up the courage to talk to her, to explore her thinking. It then dawned on me that she was a socially and intellectually vulnerable young woman, who was in a strange place, feeling unwell. She eventually warmed to me and we helped her find her way through the medical system. 

I believe I speak for many of my female colleagues when I say that I often feel underestimated as a female in health care. Many times, I have been on ward rounds, where the senior doctor is female, but the patient will address the most authoritative looking male on the team (sometimes this has been the medical student!)  These patients are usually older, and I imagine they would have grown up and spent most of their life in a society where most doctors were male. When I reflect on this, I think of this as a positive – it is wonderful that there are so many bright young women who have the opportunity to study and train to be in the career of their choosing, where this was not really possible for generations past. 



Candy’s comments are subtle messages about the power of our moral imagination. Compassion is a big theme too which reminded us of this quote from Jennifer Riggs, “When we judge, we cut off empathy and compassion. . .we can’t see connection and similarities”.

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