I thought I would start a bit of a blog that people may want to read. Hopefully it isn’t complete dribble and people may even read the second post.
I hope to cover a couple of bases with it.
– keep the family back home assumed I am safe (enough)
– have a bit of a record on paper of what I got up to for my own sake
– possibly share some interesting stories or perspectives that had been shared with me, as the year goes by
Firstly I’ll give a bit of a recap of what I’ve been up to since leaving New Zealand. Some of this may be old news to a lot of you.
After finishing uni at the end of 2009, I worked for 3 years as a junior doctor at Taranaki Base Hospital in New Plymouth. Since going away on elective to Zambia and the Solomon Islands in mid 2009, I had always been keen to return to Africa to travel and work for a spell.
The timing of this was always a bit of a balance. After finishing a six year slog of uni in NZ whilst a lot of my mates were off exploring the world, I was keen to join a similar path. I always thought I would do a year or so the head off for dryer pastures so to speak. However the crafty government had put a few incentives in front of me to stay for 3 years, combined with a decent student loan, limited savings and the fact I was having a blast in ‘T-Naks’ I ended up there for three years. It also allowed me a good chance to get a bit of a grounding in adult medicine, paediatrics and emergency medicine which are all key skills if practising in settings with limited other support.
I had had a chat at the end of my uni days with Mike and Anna, a couple from Christchurch who went as doctors to the same hospital in Zambia at a similar stage in their careers as I now am. For a lot of colleagues, the timing in the career of when to go is a difficult balance. The need to have enough experience to work relatively autonomously and be able to practice a good standard of medicine without effectively being a tourist is balanced against the decreasing likelihood of going as time passes due to those other demands on life like mortgages, relationships, family and careers. Another factor tempering this decision is the resources of where you work in that places with limited diagnostic facilities mean that a lot of the practice is more empiric and therefore whilst extra experience is always valuable, it doesn’t necessarily change treatment that much.