Former Olympic athlete Jana Pittman has swapped her running spikes for a stethoscope, starting as a junior doctor in a western Sydney hospital.

The two-time world champion hurdler began work as a doctor on Monday, joining a team of 47 interns at Blacktown Hospital.

“I loved my athletics career, representing Australia was gold, but I hope my future in medicine will be even better,” Dr Pittman said in a statement.

“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.”

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard visited Blacktown Hospital to welcome the recruits, the largest intern uptake of any NSW public hospital this year.

“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,” Mr Hazzard said in a statement.