About

My name is Penny and welcome to my blog! I’m a newly fellowed GP obstetrician from Perth, Western Australia, embarking on a new life as a rural locum doctor. I am constantly on the road, having lots of grand adventures and looking for a place to eventually settle down and call home.

I am passionate about general practice, obstetrics, medical education and quality patient care. I have a habit of joining committees and have a crippling inability to say “no”. I’m an enthusiastic but still amateur user of social media and I am a huge fan of FOAM.

When I’m not delivering babies, attending meetings or traveling to far flung corners of the country, you might find me baking a batch of macarons, running around the river or sitting in a cafe with a latte and a good book.

This blog is part travel-diary, part opinion, and part clinical education. It’s evolving as it goes along and I’d love to hear from anyone with blog post requests or suggestions.

You can also contact me on twitter: @nomadicgp

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DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and not of any other organisations. Any medical information is provided as general information only and should not be used in place of personal medical advice. The author accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and makes every effort to reference source material where possible.

15 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Penny,
    I saw your photo doing a CS in Medical Forum and want to say how proud of you I am, my fellow sufferer at KEMH. I feel so embarrassed about the chocolates and hated the fights for the babies, found it VERY destructive, but needed the Diploma.
    I have been working in Southern Cross for 3 years and am now in Meeka for a week with the RFDS, then go back to KEMH for 6 months as need to upskill.

    I have always found medicine a double edged sword and the trick is being to make the profession work for you, you get better at doing this and saying NO.
    Also, `be careful what you wish for, …’
    Also, my husband won’t go with me to rural places either, it is much easier for male docs as often their wives have the expectation that they will go with them when they marry.
    Anyway, keep in touch. I am very proud of you.
    Warm regards
    Sally Simpson.
    sally@wn.com.au

  2. Your life sounds fascinating. I’m a journalist and one of my favorite assignments, ever (that I created) was to visit docs working in far-flung parts of rural northern Ontario. One worked in a clinic with a sign on her desk that read: “Your doctor this week is…”

  3. Congrats, Penny. Good luck on your career.

    I’m a former pediatrician in Calif, now retired, Reading, riding my bike and cooking from scratch (4 the past 3 years). Very basic food, of course, but I’ve never doubted old dogs couldn’t try to learn.

    It’s a joy to see someone determined and tough fighting for ideals – unselfishly, since your patients benefit.

    Stay focused, don’t soften up! Way too many in need of expert health care _advocates_. Many excellent health care professionals out there, true. Precious few advocates, though. Precious few.

    As a Medical student, I was present at a talk by Dr. Hilliard Jason, physician and Educator. He was part of the team revolutionizing med. education in Michigan in the 70’s, He was actually born in Canada. Montreal, I think.

    Dr. Jason studied great clinicians, what set them apart. He said while many docs facing a challenging diagnosis would, f. ex., develop a working diagnosis and attempt to prove it right, great diagnosticians would often try to prove themselves _wrong_ ! If they didn’t succeed, more often than not their educated instincts were right…

    And make your patients smile. Only then will they share their story. Without which your work is a charade.

    Thrilled to have found your blog.
    J

  4. Hi
    So I know these awards are ubiquitous but I am such a fangirl so…
    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award:
    \http://urbanosprey.wordpress.com/online-community
    Please continue writing about rural medicine, I love reading your posts.

    • Wow, thanks! I’m extremely humbled by your kind feedback. I’ve never heard of the Versatile Blogger Award before. Will be sure to check it out a bit more. So glad you like the blog. It’ll give me a bit more motivation to finish off some more posts!

  5. Pingback: The Primary Care Project Not "Just" A GP - The Primary Care Project

  6. Penny,

    It’s so refreshing to read your blog; thank you for sharing your experience of being a rural doc with the world.

    I’m also on the MRBS path (ND med school, Fremantle) – entering final yr in 2014 after taking a year off to work as a brain injury advocate. After reading your September post about your personal journey with the MRBS, I became acutely aware of my deliberate avoidance of thinking about the 6 year rural commitment I will invariably have to fit into my career.

    It’s not that I don’t love rural medicine. I do. It’s just that I have been planning on career in neurosurgery for many years. And having previously volunteered for long stints in third world countries, MSF was always on the agenda.

    What are your thoughts about aspiring surgeons in the MRBS program; are there things I can do now, to better equip myself in the years to come? (ps. I am open to becoming a generalist surgeon).

    Thanks for your assistance, and keep up the great work with this blog – its awesome!

    Best,
    Dwain

    • Hi Dwain. Thanks for the lovely comment. I’m glad you enjoy the blog! Best of luck with all the decision making for the MRBS over the next few years. One of the obvious downsides of the MRBS is that it is pretty difficult for people to pursue a career in both rural practice and a sub-speciality area or overseas practice.

      Rural areas need generalists more than anything so your idea in training in general surgery has merit. Of note – generalism is also particularly valuable in resource limited and challenging areas such as disaster / 3rd world / humanitarian medicine. You would always have the option to train as a general surgeon first and then re-train in neurosurgery once you’ve finished your bond – but that is a long and dedicated road.

      MSF or other overseas work could be done either before completing fellowship, or in the year between finishing fellowship and commencing bond period, or in 3 month blocks during the return of service period.

      I actually don’t know of any MRBS surgeons but I’m sure there are some around. If I come across any I’ll put you in touch!

      Take care,
      Penny

  7. Hi Penny,
    Im just about to begin studying undergraduate medicine, I have been reading your blog over the last few months and have found it very interesting! I was wondering if i could ask you a few questions about the mrbs as I have just been offered the choice between a MRBS or unbonded spot at Adelaide university.
    Are you essentially signing up to be a GP if you take a MRBS, or are you able to fulfil the contract with other specialties? I am not 100% sure which area of medicine I want to go into.
    Also in the current work situation, is there a lot of choice in where you can work,
    or are there only a few vacancies in rural places? Any information would be a big help!
    Thanks a lot,
    Joe

  8. Hi Penny! Im a Medical Student studying at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle. Im originally from Broome up in the Kimberley! I’d love to get in touch with you..Have you got an email address?
    Maddi xxx

  9. Hi Penny, really enjoyed your blogs! I am a surgical registrar currently involved in writing for DocLife (www.doclife.com) which is a free email newsletter platform for medical students and doctors focused on mentorship and the world of medicine. I would love to do some cross collaborating if your keen? We have written about various stories in medicine including rural and remote medicine (http://www.doclife.com/ultraremotemedicine/)

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