Somewhat fortuitously, I saw a job advertised on Facebook for a GP registrar for an organisation called Homeless Healthcare in Perth. I spent a wonderful and eye-opening year there, where I finished my training, and I realised that disadvantaged population care was the kind of work I really wanted to do. After obtaining my GP Fellowship, I looked for work in First Nations health and stumbled upon a job at an urban Aboriginal Medical Service called Yerin on the NSW Central Coast, so I packed up and drove 4000km to start there. Working at Yerin cemented my feelings about this area of medicine, and after 18 months I decided I wanted to work in a remote community.
I was fortunate to find a job in Arnhem Land that was perfect for me, allowing me to live in northern Australia again and experience the incredible beauty of the Northern Territory. So I jumped in my car and drove (another) 4000km to start my new life here in the Top End. I have worked in Maningrida for over a year now and love it. In Maningrida, I work alongside other GPs, remote area nurses, midwives, Aboriginal Health Workers, and community workers.
Maningrida is the largest remote Aboriginal community in the NT and so the clinic is often busy. The chronic disease burden in Maningrida is high. It has the highest known rates of rheumatic heart disease in the world. Delivering care in a remote Indigenous community has obvious challenges, but the medicine is interesting, you are constantly learning, the work is deeply rewarding, and it is ultimately a privilege to be able to look after the traditional custodians of our land, witness cultural traditions, and hear Aboriginal languages spoken every day. Every patient you see has their own special story to tell. I also continue to relish being back in the tropics again – my true home. I missed the spectacular thunderstorms. And crocodiles!