Hello, and welcome to my blog! My name is Penny Wilson and I am embarking on a grand adventure.
About me – I’m a GP obstetrician who has recently completed my training in Perth, Western Australia. Since finishing my exams last year, life has been great. I’ve been working in Perth, splitting my time between an inner city practice, an outer metro practice and a secondary hospital practising low-to-medium risk obstetrics. Work-life balance has been fantastic, and I’ve loved combining the procedural nature and excitement of obstetrics with the rewarding continuity of care that comes from general practice. I’ve been blessed to have had the chance to work with the most amazing doctors, midwives, practice nurses and receptionist that you could ever hope for. I live in the beautiful suburb of South Perth and like to jog around the Swan River or to King’s Park, or wander down to get a latte from my favourite cafe on Angelo Street. Life has never been better!
And now I’m leaving it all behind.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had more farewell afternoon teas / lunches / drinks / dinners than one person deserves and have had to blink back the tears on more than one occasion. I have faithfully promised my workmates that yes, I’ll keep in touch, yes, I’ll come and visit and yes, I hope to come back and work with you again some day. I’ve had the difficult task of telling my wonderfully loyal patients that they will have to see someone else. Particularly poignant was my last consultation with a patient who I looked after in her first pregnancy and have been looking after the whole family ever since. She was very emotional after finding out that she is pregnant with her second baby and said “The thing I’m crying about the most is the fact that you’re leaving and wont be able to look after me for this pregnancy, too!” These and other words of thanks and support from patients have been humbling and overwhelming. It once again reinforces to me that General Practice is the best job in the world.
So I’m heading off into the great unknown to become a rural doctor. Why, you ask? When I entered medical school in 2000, I accepted a Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship, which means that now that I have acheived my fellowship, I am required to work exclusively in rural areas for the next few years until I have fulfilled my return of service obligations. It’ll take somewhere between 3 and 6 years to do that, depending on how remote I chose to go, ie more remote = less time. Now I will admit to being somewhat apprehensive about this as I have undertaken all of my post-graduate training in the city and feel woefully unprepared for the extra challenges that rural practice will bring. Luckily, I have had lots of positive rural experiences as a student and intern including John Flynn Scholarship Scheme in Forbes, Rural Clinic School in Kalgoorlie, elective terms in Broken Hill and Kununurra and an intern rotation in Port Hedland. I think it also helps that I have “red dirt in my veins”, as my mother would say. I come from a family of good country folk and have happy memories of Summer holidays spent on my family’s sheep station riding horses and motorbikes, catching yabbies from the house tank, cracking stock whips and sitting around having a yarn with the rellies over smoko. So it’s with equal parts excitement and anxiety, fear and optimism that I start this new phase of my life.
My intention is to travel around initially as a locum for as long as it takes for me to find the place where I want to settle down more permanently – a sort of fly-in-fly-out arrangement (well I AM from Western Australia, after all!) I want to try out lots of different places and lots of different types of work until I find my niche. Big towns and little towns, GP clinics, AMS, hospital and DMO jobs, North, South, East and West, hot and cold, coastal and outback. I don’t know how long it’ll take, but I suspect it’ll be most of this year at least. I hope that through this blog I’ll be able to share a little of what I learn along the way, both personally and professionally.
I would love to hear from anyone else about their experiences of locuming, rural practice, big life changes, being bonded or anything else even vaguely related. Thanks for reading!