Written by Neville Wilson, MD
"Sitting here in grey, cold and sun-forsaken Ireland, I miss the contrasting weather of Gove (Australia) - predictably warm and sultry, with an occasional evening storm, but always pleasant and bearable. The Gove nights could be humid at times, but relief was provided by the large rotating fans suspended from the ceiling in each bedroom. Not to mention the good, refreshing Ozzie beer!
I have been thinking of those wonderful days spent at Gove and wondering what it would be like to go back for another experience! We were often on the beach in the evenings after work, and had to keep a watchful eye as "salties" (salt-water crocs) often roamed the beach in search of a delicacy! Sitting on the rocks and watching the sun slowly sink below the wide expanse of endless blue ocean was a rare treat, and the "barbies" (barbecues) on the beach that followed marked the perfect ending to so many perfect days.
My wife, Sandy, and her friend, Denise, met a water buffalo on the road one morning while strolling, but it decided that two females were too much for it to handle, so after rudely snorting at them, it turned tail and ran off to the river! On another occasion a water buffalo strayed onto the school grounds and the police (much to my disgust and anger) shot and killed it. Rumors of a water buffalo wandering in our garden were greatly exaggerated, although we did have wild dogs in our back garden on a few nights trying to make a meal of our pet ducks!
Medical practice in rural Australia beats anything I have done anywhere in Ireland or Canada. Being part of a rural medical team, as at Gove Hospital, is enriching and professionally rewarding, as each practitioner brings to every challenge their own experiences and expertise, thereby contributing to an unforgettable, and unparalleled, shared learning experience. Would I go back? In a heartbeat!
Thanks to Global Medical for a wonderful experience. I have cherished the opportunity to be immersed within the heart and centre of these communities and their peculiar and unique spectrum of needs, each different from the other, yet sharing many similar fundamental characteristics. I can think of no greater challenge or fulfilling exercise than these meaningful and memorable expeditions. I hope this challenges other physicians to explore and experience rural practice in Australia.
NOTE: Gove Peninsula, in the far northeast of Arnhem Aboriginal Land, is one of the most remote areas of Australia's Northern Territory and very much off the tourist track. In fact, it can only be reached by all-terrain vehicles. The reward for the long and difficult journey lies in the wild coastal scenery, the beautiful empty beaches, the tropical vegetation and the excellent fishing in the rivers.
Dr. Neville Wilson is a Family Medical Practitioner from South Africa. He and his wife, Sandy, have raised four children and are seasoned travelers. In addition to his locum tenens stint for GMS in rural Australia, Dr. Wilson has practiced medicine in urban East London, remote Zululand, within the isolated Aboriginal communities of Northern Manitoba, Canada and is now practicing in Ireland. He plans to locum again in either Australia or the Cayman Islands.