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

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

Great ball of fire?! Meet Australia’s master of light and exposure photography.

Posted by Saralynn White

Ball of Light by Denis Smith

Grange Jetty, South Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two years ago, New Zealand native Denis Smith was working in a high-pressure sales job; drinking what he says were “obscene amounts” of alcohol, coffee and red bull; and struggling with depression. The lifestyle was taking its toll on him emotionally, physically and financially - and it was exacting an even bigger toll on his marriage. In fact, Smith says he was dangerously close to losing his wife - whom he describes as his “best friend” - so it was high time for a change.

Together, Smith and his wife packed up and moved to her native home of South Australia. It was there that Smith picked up a camera for the first time - and discovered the creative outlet that would change the direction of his life.

Smith's new home outside of Adelaide in South Australia is one of the most beautiful and varied parts of the country, and Smith wasn't immune to its beauty. He also noted how dramatic and truly radical the changes were - temperatures, then colors - and was inspired to capture it all on film. He was putting some (rather amazing) work on Flickr®, but thought it was the same thing everyone else was doing. That's when he discovered light painting.


Ball of Lightdescribe the image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
With normal photography, the shutter opens and closes, but with light panting the shutter stays open. Remember writing your name with a lit sparkler when you were a kid? Light painting is the basically the same thing. Smith started experimenting with circles, swinging a light on the end of a string; then one night as he turned in a circle, the light gradually went from a random circle to an ordered sphere. It was the beginning of Ball of Light photography.

While it sounds easy to accomplish, creating the spheres by hand takes a massive amount of practice. People ask why they can’t see him in the pictures. It’s the same as when you take a photograph of cars on the highway at night - you see the red taillights or the white headlights streaming, but you can’t see the car itself. It’s all about motion.

For Smith, it's also all about the place and time: Location shots take a lot of planning. He needs the right weather and a full moon - and all of the shots take place at night.  There is no Photoshop manipulation in Smith’s Ball of Light works. They’re taken in a single exposure with adjustments to level or brightness and such.  
 

Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island, South Australiadescribe the image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smith counts himself lucky enough to go searching for the Ball of Light in some wonderful places near his new home. His fondest memory with this project? Being at Lake Mungo with the Ball of Light near an ancient Aboriginal Fire Pit carbon dated to 65,000 years wondering what they would have thought.

Smith never thought he’d be in a position of creating what people would describe as art, or that someone would pay for them. “Two years ago,” says Smith, “I would’ve laughed. Now it gives me more joy than anything I’ve ever done." Smith's work gives us joy, too, but the truth is even without a ball of light in the frame, his work is spectacular.

To get a closer look at Smith's photos (not to mention the incredible landscape) we suggest you locum in Australia. Stay for a while and catch all of the changing seasons while you're at it. Until then, check out this
15-minute documentary by Sam Collins and meet the photographer via video.

Ball Of Light from Sam Collins on Vimeo.

Topics: Denis Smith, Ball of Light, South Australia, Adelaide AU, Sydney Opera House, Australia

Locums for a Small World Blog

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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