Locums for a Small World Blog

Want to practice medicine in Australia? Three doctors fill us in on work, play and the locum tenens lifestyle.

Posted by Everett Fitch

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There’s no doubt about it…Australia is, in a word, vast. Now, when we say “vast” we mean it. No single word in the English language is more appropriate in encapsulating the true essence of Australia. This country contains, in elegant manner, a multitude of cultures, cuisines, dialects, landscapes, oceanscapes and cityscapes all within its 2,969,907 square miles.

You’ve got Western Australia with its picturesque Perth and Queensland with its shining Gold Coast. Then you’ve got the gritty yet charming feel of the outback in the Northern Territory and the craggy island atmosphere of Tasmania. And still there's more: in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

So yes, Australia is vast. To place any other adjective by its side would be tantamount to a disgrace. Three doctors who practiced medicine in Australia can testify to its welcoming greatness. They’ll tell you all about what to expect at work as well as what sights they experienced – in a nutshell, they’ll enlighten you on the locum tenens lifestyle here in Australia.

But before we get to their stories you should know that taking an assignment in Australia is about more than just the scenery. It’s about a life experience, a career change. It’s about being entirely immersed in a different culture and healthcare system. (Read: 3 interesting places to practice medicine in Australia plus a brief overview of their healthcare system.) Simply put, practicing medicine in Australia is a work experience you’ll never forget.

And as an Aussie would say, no worries: Your physician placement specialist will handle all the logistics along the way (licensing, registration, travel, etc.). They'll match you with a medical facility as well as put you in touch with the practice where you’ll be working. And if there’s a doctor who has practiced in that area before you’ll even have a chance to chat with them, help you get your bearings ahead of setting foot in the country.

All in all this process should take about three months once a job has been offered. If you’d like you can learn more about the requirements for taking a locum tenens assignment in Australia by visiting our Ask an Expert page. In the meantime, catch a head start on what to expect by reading all about the following doctors’ experiences below.

Isadore Unger, MD – Tasmania

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On practicing medicine in another country:


For Dr. Unger, practicing medicine in another country – especially one with socialized medicine – presented a few challenges. “There were differences in language and terminology,” says Dr. Unger. “Interns were called house surgeons and residents were called registrars or 'reggies' for short. And surgeons are never called ‘doctor,’ they're addressed as ‘Mister.’” Kiwis and Aussies do speak English, but they not only have their own accent, they have a few of their own words. Fortunately, the nurses helped Dr. Unger translate the jargon. “One patient told me he felt 'like a box of fluffy ducks,’” says Dr. Unger, “Which I learned is 'great.’”

Rick Abbott, MD – Tasmania

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On the differences between the U.S. and Australia’s healthcare system:

Beyond figuring out that a “long black” is Tassie's answer to a simple coffee, Dr. Abbott found out that both the healthcare system and work ethic are a bit different, too. “The ER was a great place to work. Because Australia is a national healthcare system, we had very little 'social safety net' to our practice and so we were a real ER. In other words, a very high proportion of our patients had an acute problem that required an acute intervention. We weren't trying to manage chronic disease that had nowhere else to go (as in the U.S.)." Dr. Abbott also praised Tasmania's implementation of an Emergency Medical Information Book (an organized booklet listing their medical and surgical history, active problem list, and current medications) that lots of patients carry with them.

On the adventures him and his wife, Jean Abbott, MD, had:

For his last month in Tasmania, Jean Abbott, MD (his wife, an ER doctor herself) joined him for some Tassie fun. The “Doctors Abbott” ventured to the capital city of Tasmania, Hobart, which serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. They also made their way to a few nature parks to see the wildlife that you'll only find in Australia: wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, kookaburras, and a lot more. They even saw Little Penguins or “Fairy Penguins” out on a quaint little Tassie beach. Ben Lomond National Park is a spectacular place and it's a haven for rock climbers, bushwalkers, and skiers. “Beautiful tundra - though we could only see a few feet of it at a time because of the thick fog,” Dr. Abbott says. “And wallabies were all over the place up there!”

Kathryn Starkey, MD – multiple assignments throughout Australia

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On the experiences you won’t get anywhere else:


"You know when you come to Australia that you're going to see some kangaroos," she says. "What we didn't expect was to see them chewing on the putting green at the local golf course!" It was an event that became a nightly ritual for Dr. Starkey and her partner, Molly Evans, not to mention the famous marsupials. "Watching the kangaroos bounce in – a lovely movement in itself – and chew on the grass at sunset beat anything on the four TV channels," says Dr. Starkey. "And who ever imagines they'll be hiking along and see a platypus swim by on their webbed feet, right there in the wild? A platypus!"

On the reasons for taking a locum tenens assignment in the first place:

As Dr. Starkey tells it, “I had a gynecology practice in the Finger Lakes area of New York, but no life. I went to work early, got home late, had dinner, watched a bit of TV, went to bed, and then did it all again. I told my patients to take care of themselves, but I wasn't taking care of myself.” What she had done was keep a postcard from Global Medical, which inspired her to take action. “I told Molly to start planning; I brushed up on my OB work and we took an assignment a year later." Since then, Dr. Starkey has lost some 40 pounds; she respects a 9-to-5 workday and leads a balanced life. The primary requisite in each new area is a decent library. “I now have time to read, and I love to get books about the areas where we're living and dive into them,” says Dr. Starkey. “I learn the history, the geography, everything. It's fascinating.”

If it feels that you still have unanswered questions after reading these first-hand accounts then read the full stories and more. In fact, we have an online library of sorts you can visit. It's entitled The Locum Life – locum tenens stories told through the eyes of our own doctors. You'll find out more about what it's like to work in Australia, New Zealand and even the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Interested in practicing medicine in Australia right away? Go ahead and view our current locum tenens opportunities in the Land Down Under with the click of a button below.

Search for current physician openings in Australia

 

Topics: South Australia, Queensland, Australia, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Northern Territory, Western Australia, Dr. Rick Abbott, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, locum tenens lifestyle, Australian healthcare, Dr. Isadore Unger

The winter bucket list for locum tenens doctors who double as photographers – international edition

Posted by Everett Fitch

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Two weeks ago we outlined the finest places around the U.S. for locum tenens doctors to not only visit but places where they can hone their photography skills, too. This week we’re introducing the international edition of our winter bucket list.

Much like the U.S. edition you’ll see places that range from cityscape to countryside. In our list you’ll read about horizons where gleaming granite peaks and cascading waterfalls are far from lacking; where burning giants dominate the night sky over leagues of tussock hills; where neon lights heat up the nightlife all while existing underneath an abundance of coastal mountains; and lastly, where a city is surrounded by a fiery red desert with unforgettable sights and adventures in every direction. Yeah, you’re going to want to bring your camera.

Fiordland National Park – South Island, New Zealand

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At this point it’s a given that New Zealand has immaculate countryside. And Fiordland National Park – which includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds – is about as gorgeous as it gets.

Gargantuan glaciers carved this land. There’s a personality here, an energy that is palpable in the coastal mountain air. Air so simultaneously crisp and humid you’ll wonder if you’re in the Rockies or on some beach in Hawaii. Still, you’re going to want to bring a jacket because it can get a tad chilly. Maybe pack some protective/waterproof gear for your camera while you’re at it. Waterfall spray can get a little intense if you’re taking the cruise ship route. Tours can last anywhere from a couple hours to a whole day.

If you really want some epic captures of this diverse landscape then take the Milford Track (this one's by foot). It’s touted as one of New Zealand’s most famous hikes. Have a few days or more to spare? Complete the 33-mile, four-day trip. That way you can really capture awe-inspiring scenery like Sutherland Falls. Learn more about how to book a walk with a tour guide or how to venture out on your own.

Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve – South Island, New Zealand

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To be able to capture a dynamic picture of a waterfall amidst mountain peaks takes a certain artistry for sure. It’s an entirely different kind of finesse to be able to capture the night sky in all its glory. If you’re new to astrophotography here’s a crash course that’s worth reading. But we suspect with some basic know-how you’ll be able to shoot the clear skies in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Reserve, no problem.

A good approach is to create an engaging composition in your long exposure, a bit of tussock land and a large amount of night sky for example. Just do an image search on Google and you’ll see the possibilities that exist here. Aside from simply freeing the skies of all pollution the reserve is also dedicated to protecting the flora and fauna in the area. Take the Big Sky Stargazing tour of Mount John Observatory for an in-depth look of their mission as well as an enlightening examination of the night sky.

Granville Street – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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There’s a street in Vancouver where neon lights used to shine in plenitude far and wide. It’s called Granville Street; you can’t miss it. Though over the past couple decades the flashing signs have been reduced. There is a new interest as of late to bring back what was once thought to be the luminous soul of the city. (Pack your street lens – 50mm or less – for this stretch of town).

This resurgence exists in preserving neon lights even if the business is long gone. If you want to see some of the signs that have fallen prey to neon bans over the years you can find those at the Vancouver Museum. They hold a collection of vintage neons there like the Smiling Buddha Cabaret sign.

What makes this radiant portion of Vancouver truly incredible and unique is that the North Shore Mountains tower not far off. It’s not all glitz and glamour like some neon cities. When we think neon we think Las Vegas where casinos stand among desert scenery or we picture massive cities such as Tokyo where there’s no shortage of skyscrapers. Granville Street is home to a glowing nightlife, sure, but Vancouver is still a mountain city at heart.

Alice Springs – Northern Territory, Australia

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Last but not least is Alice Springs: the gateway to Australia’s outback, its Red Centre. Not the only gateway of course but definitely one of the most visited. That’s because Uluru is nearby: a sacred sandstone formation protected by the Anangu (an Aboriginal people).

Visit even more striking sights, too, like Kings Canyon, Simpson Desert and the Devils Marbles. The last one is a can’t miss. To the Warmangu Aboriginal people these large granite boulders are sacred. When you see them in person you’ll understand why.

Do you really want to make your trip to Alice Springs a success? Book a tour by camelback to watch the sun rise and/or set where Uluru serves as the backdrop. Quite spectacular. Yeah, you can probably guess by now that Alice Springs is a remarkable place to capture very distinct landscapes. You can even stay within the city limits and discover Aboriginal art galleries or learn more about the eclectic history of the town itself.

We know. Technically only one place on this list is in the midst of winter. The rest are in the heart of their Southern Hemispherean summer right now. But if you're in the Northern Hemisphere it's still winter travel to us. No matter. You can visit these stunning sights in any season and still snag an epic photo. The point is to be immersed in travel, to broaden your medical skills and to bring your camera along for the adventure. Find out what international locum tenens opportunities are available now with the click of an orange button below.

Search current physician openings


Topics: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Territory, Milford Sound, photographer, dark sky reserve, devils marbles, granville street, vancouver, aoraki, winter, bucket list, photography, alice springs, fiordland national park, star photography

Best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every single Australian capital city (pt. 1)

Posted by Everett Fitch

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Over the years we’ve written rather extensively about all the top locales to visit in Australia. In doing so we’ve almost run out of adjectives to accurately describe this wonderful country. Every adjective from awe-inspiring to zestful has leapt from our keyboards. Don’t worry though we haven’t run out of things to say yet. And fortunately we haven’t run out of locations to talk about, either.

It’s time to dive a little deeper, don’t you think? Instead of the broad strokes we’re used to. We’re going to give you a complete list of the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in every last Australian capital. This way if you find yourself in any one of these cities with no idea as to what to do then just jump on our trusty blog and you’re all set. Oh and for those of you who’ve been to these cities and don’t agree with our finds please feel free to write your favorite places in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you think.

Adelaide, South Australia

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Best restaurant: Orana (Aboriginal word for “welcome”)

If you want a real taste of Australia with a spotlight on not just local but native, too, then Orana is where you should go. It’s quite the unique experience – small and intimate where the focus is on the food and all the wine pairings that go with.

Best bar: The Collins Bar

Instead of picking a hip, new bar (as there are a ton in Adelaide to choose from) we opted for an established, tried-and-true favorite called The Collins Bar. This is a specialty cocktail joint with a modern, relaxed atmosphere. Grab a babysitter then head to this bar for some exemplary cocktails and great conversation.

Best pastime: Adelaide Hills

This was a tough one. It was a choice between a beach destination and tramping through winery-coated hills. We decided to head for the hills. The Adelaide Hills has it all (except for a beach). Pick some fresh fruit straight from the bush, tree or vine. Sample some local wines. Stroll through the hills unencumbered. Watch kangaroos hop around. IT'S GOT EVERYTHING.

Brisbane, Queensland

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Best restaurant: Stokehouse Brisbane

Almost as brilliant as Stokehouse Brisbane’s menu is its riverside location. It has an open design with big windows so you feel as though you’re right in the mix of nature. You can sit on the deck too if you want. You can even catch a glimpse of the city from your seat. So snag a Mediterranean dish and let the ambient city life wash over you. Be warned, this place fills up fast so book in advance.

Best bar: The Laneway

It’s difficult to choose a proper bar for everyone to enjoy. All sorts of people have all sorts of different tastes in scenery and ambience. Though we think all will be pleased with The Laneway. It’s cemented itself as one of the best bars in all of Brisbane for its welcoming yet stylistic atmosphere and its bountiful selection of boutique beers and finely crafted cocktails. Not to mention it has a firm focus on being both green and local in its never-ending pursuit of spirits, wines, beers and cocktail ingredients.

Best pastime: North Stradbroke Island (AKA "Straddie")

When it comes to pastimes we tend to opt for the outdoors, especially in a place like Brisbane. We don’t want to discriminate too much; occasionally we do offer insight into top museums, art galleries, historic buildings, etc. But for the most part the outdoors is where it’s at and it’s always ripe for exploring.

Head to North Stradbroke Island via a short ferry ride from Brisbane. You’ll be met with sublime views. Either relax or customize your own tour: everything from 4WD treks to sandboarding is available.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

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Best restaurant: Eighty Six

A retreat from the fine-dining, small-plate atmosphere, Eighty Six could be coined a hipster eatery. But we’d be remiss if we did such a disservice to such a radiant restaurant. It can be a bit noisy in here but that’s because the diners are having a helluva flavor experience and can’t do anything but shout about it. The menu is richly unique, the plates are meant to be shared, and a blackboard shows you what’s been eighty-sixed (nixed) from the menu as they slowly run out.

Best bar: 54 Benjamin

There are a lot of great bars in Canberra. That’s because the capital is a hip place to be. But we had to decide on one. And 54 Benjamin was our choice. It is newer than most bars in town but we picked it for very sound reasons. They have a penchant for creating high-end cocktails that hit your taste buds just right. And it’s a place where pretty much everyone can feel welcome.

Best pastime: National Gallery of Australia

Remember when we said we tend to opt for the outdoors? Well this time in Canberra we’re staying inside. That’s not because Canberra is lacking in things to do outdoors, no. It’s because when you’re in the capital city of Australia you’re going to want to visit the National Gallery of Australia. It hosts contemporary, Australian, Indigenous and Asian artwork among others. Don’t stop here, either. Canberra is home to many great art galleries. Get out in the city and explore.

Darwin, Northern Territory

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Best restaurant: Hanuman

Ask a Darwin local about a few of their favorite restaurants and they’ll most certainly throw Hanuman in the mix. That’s because it’s a community staple. It’s been said that the chef and restaurateur Jimmy Shu put Darwin on the map when it comes to great dining. The menu combines Thai, Indian and Nonya flavors to give diners an unforgettable tasting experience. Try the fresh and local barramundi for a real treat.

Best bar: The Darwin Ski Club

This one’s a bit of a cheat as it’s kind of a restaurant, too. It also doubles as the home of the Northern Territory Water Ski Association. But all are welcome.

While we say go ahead, order a delicious bucket of prawns straight from the Arafura Sea and dig in. We also say come here after a long day to watch the spectacular sunset as you sip on a local brew.

Best pastime: Darwin Harbour

Darwin is a great jumping-off point for adventurers of all kinds. You’ve got Kakadu National Park, Mary River National Park and Litchfield National Park all nearby. Plus Darwin Harbour is right out your front door.

Magnificent landscapes rich with wondrous flora and fauna surround this Northern Territory capital. It’s extremely difficult to choose just one experience for our list. But since we have to choose we’re going with a pleasant nature cruise around Darwin Harbour. It’s a fantastic primer to get you excited about all the other outdoor adventures you can have in this part of Australia.

Stay tuned for our next installment where you’ll find out about all the best restaurants, best bars and best pastimes in the rest of the capital cities across Australia: Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Again, feel free to comment below if you’ve been to any of these places, or if you have any places you’d recommend yourself. In the meantime, find out what physician opportunities are available in Australia right now by clicking the orange button below.

Search for current physician openings in Australia

 

Topics: Darwin, South Australia, Queensland, Australia, Northern Territory, Brisbane, Best Restaurants in Australia, Adelaide, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Best Bars in Australia, Best Pastimes in Australia

Two turtle doves and one well-traveled doctor: Guess who’s back at the Top End?

Posted by Saralynn White
Hello again from Australia,

It is wonderful to be back living and working at the Top End of Australia–our tropical paradise. Despite the daily humidity and temperatures reaching the high 90s, we feel “at home” slipping easily back into our routine of work and play (the customs officers were skeptical about Kathy's work visa when they explored her bag and found snorkeling equipment, a bike helmet, multiple swimsuits and several pairs of walking shoes!)

We are enjoying the same condo, the same lovely oceanfront swimming pool, and wonderful young doctors eager to learn and care for their patients. The mix of Asian/Australian influence is what makes this place unique from our prior Australian experiences. Here, Kathy cares for patients from East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines Islands, Sri Lanka, China, India and refugees from as far as Iran–to name a few. In fact, one in eight Australians now speak an Asian language. This exposure to other cultures has piqued our interest to travel to these regions in the future.

Weather and natural phenomena continues to be a “hot topic”. Nightly spectacular lightning shows that are leading us to the eventual wet season dominate.

Our native Australian Aborigines will now enter the 21st century with their own television station. Going mainstream introduces their culture to a wider audience and breaks down multiple barriers. We eagerly await this chance to learn more about the first people of Australia and hope that sometime in the future the Constitution of Australia is ratified to recognize them.

The Northern Territory outlawed the use of plastic shopping bags last year and one year later, it is nice to see everyone parading into the stores with reusable bags in tow. It shows that it can and should be done. Molly even takes an “esky” (cooler) when she shops for things that need refrigeration.

Rafting the ColoradoAussie friends

 




 

 




Our time back in the USA brought a visit from Australian friends who spent part of their 77-day U.S. holiday with us. We caught up with them in the Grand Canyon after we spent five days rafting down the Colorado River, sleeping under the stars and hiking the nine miles out. The grand finale of their holiday was five days with Kathy’s brother in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy....with no electricity.

In the spirit of the holiday season, two turtle doves have built a nest in a palm tree just outside our window. What makes it unique is that this same couple attempted a nest here last year but it was blown apart by a typhoon. Hopefully, they will have better luck this year. To ring in the New Year we’re sailing Sydney Harbour aboard the
James Craig–a tall ship built in 1874. The Sydney fireworks spectacular is world-renowned so watch for us on your television news!

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!
Kathy and Molly

Dr. Kathy Starkey (far right) is an OB/GYN from Buffalo, New York who gave up a practice in the Finger Lakes region in 2007 to take her first locum assignment with us in New Zealand. She’s now on her 8th assignment–at the Top End of Australia in the Northern Territory (for the 2nd time) where they just arrived. Dr. Starkey says she’s sticking with locum work because she get to practice medicine–which she loves–versus working so hard at the “business” of medicine. Her partner in life and crime, Molly Evans (second from right) has been with her from the beginning and the pair’s locum adventures–which we tell often–have also taken them to New Zealand's North and South Islands, the Cayman Islands, Western Australia, and the Australian island state of Tasmania.



Topics: Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Molly Evans, Northern Territory, Top End of Australia, Sydney Harbour New Year's Eve

These birds like their nectar shaken, not stirred

Posted by Saralynn White

describe the imageAs the wet season approaches Australia’s Northern Territory and the mercury begins to climb, locals head indoors to...drink. The capital city of Darwin reputedly has some of the best pubs in all of Australia and Mitchell Street is where you’ll find them. Just don’t tell the country’s lorikeets.

There's another natural phenomenon that occurs here at this time of the year: Drunken Parrot Season. Yes, flocks of seemingly tipsy red-collared lorikeets (a type of parrot and a sub-species of the rainbow lorikeet) are seen staggering about, falling out of trees, and (much like humans) they apparently get more and more friendly as the haze wears on. Really blotto birds have no fear of humans whatsoever. They're rescued from lawns and roadsides, but are they actually drunk? The best explanation is that the birds are eating tree fruit that has fermented. Apparently, polly is three sheets to the wind.

The distinctive bright blue head, green wings and red and orange markings on the neck of the lorikeet make these birds hard to miss—even when they’re not flying under the influence. But the number of lush lorikeets is increasing each year and unlike human benders, binging birds don't just sleep it off: they suffer from a hangover-like sickness that lasts several days and is sometimes accompanied by respiratory problems.

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This year, animal experts are preparing to rescue and care for hundreds of “pissed” birds, who are given sweetened porridge and fresh fruit—the avian version of hangover food. Wildcare Inc. NT and The Ark, Inc. are both non-profit wildlife care and rescue organizations that work to assist the wayward birds every year. 

Oh, and if you aren’t already familiar with the lovely lorikeet don’t let their strange annual drinking binge stop you from being a fan. The birds are beloved throughout the country and make “one heckuva lovely racket” that Aussies are accustomed to hearing every morning. Check out the video of some lorikeets enjoying some nectar
(and getting drunk) in this mate’s neighborhood tree:



Topics: Darwin, Drunk Parrot Season, Lorikeets, Wildcare Inc. NT, The Ark, Northern Territory

How Dr. Starkey got her groove back: An open letter to doctors considering a locum

Posted by Saralynn White
Molly Evans and Dr. Kathy Starkey Kangaroos on the golf course with Molly





 

 

 

G'day all,

I’m asked a lot wDr. Starkey in the Caymanshat it’s like to be a US-trained doctor working as an OB/GYN in Australia and New Zealand and it's a question I love to answer.

First, a bit about me. I’m from Buffalo, New York; I completed my OB/GYN residency at Magee Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) in 1990 and went directly into practice that same year (I have been board certified since 1992). In 2005 I lost my mother and that year I realized I did not want to work so hard at the "business” of medicine. I had a Gynecology practice in the Finger Lakes area of New York, but no life. I went to work early, got home late, had dinner, watched a bit of TV, went to bed, and then did it all again. I told my patients to take care of themselves, but I wasn't taking care of myself. I had kept a postcard from Global Medical Staffing and that inspired me to take action. I told Molly (my partner) to start planning; I brushed up on my OB work and in 2007 we took a locum tenens assignment with Global. It was a step that reinvigorated me and I got my life back. Now, I just practice medicine—which I love. 
 
new zealand windswept trees 123rfSince 2007, I have worked in the Caymans, on both islands in New Zealand, in two Australian States (Western Australia and Tasmania) and in Australia’s Northern Territory. I have loved each location and have traveled extensively before, during and after assignments. I personally prefer a six-month assignment, but many, many locums work for a year or more.

Working in the Southern Hemisphere has opened my eyes to medicine as it is practiced in other countries, including the UK, Singapore and India. Our American viewpoint is very welcome, but the UK Royal College Guidelines are first line as well in our field. It’s a breath of fresh air to see and learn other viewpoints (no, we Americans don’t know it all! There is definitely more than one way to "skin a cat"!).

The residents in New Zealand and Australia are a hard-working bunch. The hours are civilized, with morning report at 8:00 a.m., rounds at 8:30, clinics or surgery 9-12 and afternoon clinic or surgery from 1:00 until you go home at 4:00 p.m. Your call is 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Labor & Delivery, then the night person takes over and you go home. After a week of nights you generally have a week free.

Kathy and Molly at the Bungles Bungles

Australia and New Zealand are obviously first-world countries, but I have had some third-world experiences. The Aborigine population, for instance, does not embrace preventive medicine. You’ll also likely treat some of the many immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. You’ll see and care for some interesting cases here, but your USA training will ensure you’re up to the task. In Australia, the junior staff are equal to USA residents from year 1-4, but they call themselves registrars and resident medical officers—all doctors in various levels of skill. Some may have been specialists in other countries but need to repeat their training to obtain full medical registration here. Or are general practitioners but want to work remotely and are up-skilling in the specialty.

Now about travel. I have ventured through much of Australia and New Zealand (and beyond)—yes, you’ll have lots of time to explore! The exotic country of Bali is a great weekend getaway. My favorite spots in Australia are Tasmania and the the "Bungle Bungles" in the Northwest portion of the continent. Darwin (in the Northern Territory) is on the water and just beautiful—like Florida or even Pebble Beach in California—but weejkend getaways in the outback desert are close. We were there in the rainy season still saw the sun a lor. For a portion of the year, we can’t swim in the ocean because of jellyfish and crocs (don’t worry, there are signs posted!) but we still enjoyed the huge 50-meter pools every day.

Molluy in TasmaniaIf you work in Australia, be sure to visit Uluru (that big red rock - Ayers - in the center of the country) and ride camels, swim with whale sharks, dive the Great Barrier Reef, taste all the different wine regions, fly into remote Tasmania by bush plane, climb the remote rocks in Kakadu Park and see rock drawings from 50,000 years ago, ride the Indian Pacific Railroad East to West or The Ghan train North to South, climb the Hanger Bridge and visit the Opera House in Sydney, descend into a gold mine, sail on an America's Cup boat in Queenstown, hike New Zealand's great walks, helicopter onto a glacier and walk on blue ice at Fox Glacier in New Zealand's Southern Alps, stand next to penguins all over the place....I think I’ve made my point!

A locum tenens assignment is the adventureFairy penguins in New Zealand of a lifetime; just keep your mind open, expect the unexpected, and learn ways to "be a good guest". I miss family and friends, but I keep in touch via Skype, email, Facebook and phone calling cards.

That's it for now, except this: Do it, do it, do it! One doctor in particular (who is just finishing her residency training) asked me about working as a locum and I told her the same thing. She has lots of time to eventually "get established and become one of the rat race."

Cheers,Dr. Kathy Starkey

Kathy Starkey & Molly Evans

Dr. Kathy Starkey, an OB/GYN, and her partner, Molly Evans, have chosen locum tenens as a permanent lifestyle. They're preparing to head out for their eighth assignment with Global Medical now, and their previous adventures have taken them to New Zealand's North and South Islands, the Cayman Islands, Western Australia, the Australian island state of Tasmania, and the Top End of Australia in the Northern Territory.


Topics: Uluru, Dr. Kathryn Starkey, Northern Territory, Tasmania

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Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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