How did you get to where you are?
I am Cairns born and bred, and moved to Townsville to attend med school at JCU in 2002. I came back to Cairns to do my internship in 2008 and have spent the majority of my working life here.
I didn’t like emergency medicine at the start of my career. My initial interest was in surgery, but despite myself I started to enjoy emergency medicine and realised it would be a good fit for my personality and skill set. I commenced my training in PGY3, and over the next 3 years I gained registrar experience in general surgery, cardiology, thoracic medicine, general medicine, paediatrics, anaesthetics and intensive care (as well as emergency, of course!). During the final phase of my training I moved to the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital and spent 18 months there as a senior emergency registrar, passing my fellowship exam in 2015. I was then able to move into a consultant job at Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital in Brisbane and finally moved back home to Cairns as a FACEM at the start of 2016.
What do you like about your role?
Emergency medicine is enormously varied – there are opportunities to see a broad range of patients and to develop expertise in areas such as trauma, critical care and procedural skills. Collaboration is vital and I like being able to establish good working relationships within and beyond the emergency department. It is satisfying to hand a patient to the inpatient team, knowing that effective management of their complaint has already commenced in the ED. I also enjoy the opportunities for teaching and mentoring junior doctors and improving service delivery. Finally, it’s great to have a 40 hour working week!
What are the challenges?
The scope of practice is incredibly broad, which makes it challenging. Managing the chaos in a busy emergency department can also be demanding – there are constant interruptions and sometimes a number of nursing and medical staff are waiting to consult with me. During ‘surges’ the workload is very high, and if there are insufficient beds available in the department or in the hospital itself, that presents some additional challenges.
My wife and I have three beautiful daughters, and my parents also live in Cairns so they are very glad that we are settled here for now! I became a Christian at uni and I enjoy being part of The Good Shepherd Anglican Church. I have been a video gamer from the time I could first hold a Nintendo controller. I once played golf, but then I had children.
What would be some tips for a junior doctor on how to get into a training program?
Aim for a broad medical experience early on in your career. However, if you do choose a speciality to pursue, start research/publishing early!
Above all, while aiming for competence, remain humble and teachable. Try to be someone who is a pleasure to work with, not a pain!