Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Summer in Shetland

So I guess I am trying to put myself in your position...You may or ( much more likely) may not - have been to Shetland before. And you are thinking "what goes on up there?"..."will I not feel completely isolated?"..."will I be accepted, coming up from south?"..."I am going to be so far away from my family..".

Well, allow me to speak a little more, speaking as someone who had all these thoughts (and more!) moving up here.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Future Is.............Shetland!

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the lack of blogging: I have just emerged from the world of AKT and CSA revision/ exams, and I must say it is a rather beautiful place to be!

I've been based mainly in Lerwick Health Centre, but have enjoyed a couple of weeks doing single-handed practice in Unst: the UK's most northerly GP practice! By road from Lerwick (where our district general hospital, the Gilbert Bain, is located), Unst is an approximate two and a half journey by road and two ferries. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there: a great opportunity to get to know your patients better (less time pressure compared with bigger practice) and that is thoroughly satisfying. The other aspect of things which I enjoyed was the out-of-hours work. In Unst, there is no NHS 24: you are it!! My two-week period there saw me admit four patients - two out of hours (quite a lot for a small practice!). For one of these admissions, we needed to call out the helicopter: critically unwell collapsed adult, likely septic shock. I can't quite describe to you the challenges and drama of carrying out resuscitation in a croft-house living room, with a patient not known to you (minimal contact with health centre), and an understandably upset spouse; arranging for emergency retrieval with scanty mobile signal (landline essential!) and trying to communicate the relevant details to the receiving hospital team in Lerwick. Oh yes - and how to extricate the patient through a very narrow croft-house porch with tight corners!!

So, exams are done - what now?!! Well.....

1. I need to keep up-to-date with my e-portfolio
2. Looking forward to a forthcoming ski holiday in February
3. Planning the Rural Track GP trainee conference, here in Shetland this March
4. Planning the remainder of my training, including making best use of study leave to prepare me for life beyond training.


I have decided to stay here in Shetland beyond the end of training in September. I am intending to work roughly two thirds in GP, and one third obstetrics. Dylan Murphy, my trainer, is a GP Obstetrician, so I am intending to learn a lot in the next few months to prepare me for taking part in the on-call rota. Hopefully I will recall some of my obstetric knowledge from working in Christchurch Women's Hospital. In addition to obstetrics, I hope to do a bit of A&E. This will be a salaried position. It just feels like the right thing to do! I am happy here: great colleagues, good friends, super community with LOTS going on!

Think that's all I want to say for now!

Chat soon.


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Dance Pony Dance - The Pony at Christmas #DancePonyDance Three Advert

Scottish Medical Careers Fair, Saturday 20th September, Glasgow

If you can, try and make it along to the Scottish Medical Training Careers Fair in Glasgow on Saturday 20th September!!! A good few of our Rural Track contingent will be there to chat to you about the programme. Look out for the NHS Education for Scotland stall, and you will be directed to the right people! Trainee Ambassadors will be there to assist - usually in very bright t-shirts!

Back in Shetland!!!

Greetings everyone!!!

My goodness me - where does six months go?!! I am now back in Lerwick, and getting into exam mode: Applied Knowledge Test in October!

I must admit, it was difficult leaving East Otago Health, where I was working in New Zealand. In fact, it was difficult leaving New Zealand full stop!! I really came to know my patients, and really did learn of the importance of continuity of care in this regard. I am very excited for our colleagues Keri and Colm who are shortly heading out to the team in East Otago.

In spite of all I have said above, it really is good to be back here in Shetland. What a welcome I had back at the Practice (Lerwick Health Centre). Great to be back amongst familiar faces. And to see Dylan (my supervisor) to discuss exams and make a plan for the year ahead. The Rural Track training programme really is fantastic, and played a very large role in me ensuring I came back!! On that note, both NES (NHS Education for Scotland) and my training practice were very supportive throughout the whole OOPE experience: I had planned to do a hospital job in New Zealand initially, but they are becoming much more difficult to come by. And so I postponed my OOPE from August until January, which fitted in with taking over from Kate and Chris (Western Isles trainees) who were at East Otago Health before me. - Understanding and flexibility are just another two reasons why I think you should apply for the Rural Track programme.

I did my first mock AKT today on Pastest), which was helpful in targeting particular study areas. Now I need to get down to the study, which I am planning to do through a mixture of on-line modules, reading guidelines, journals and doing lots of questions.

I will leave you for now with a few photos. Good luck to those of you rotating next week!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Adventures in Aotearoa

Greetings from Aotearoa 'Land of the Long White Cloud' (Maori); otherwise known as New Zealand. All I can say is that this is yet another marvellous advert for why you should apply for the Rural Track GP Training Scheme in Scotland! - You are able to spend six months doing something of interest to you, anywhere in the world!

In my case, I have followed Kate (Dixon) and Chris Mulholland's footsteps and am working in a General Practice in northern Otago, South Island. The work experience has been first class, and I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by great colleagues. 

Besides the 'routine' (if there is such a thing!) aspects of daily general practice work, I have had the opportunity to see a lot of emergency presentations. These have ranged from chest pain and suspected strokes, to delivering a baby in the back of an ambulance, to suturing, to ABC management of a posterior tibial artery laceration. Variety is, indeed, the spice of life!

Outside of work, I have been enjoying exploring different parts of the South Island, taking part in a plethora of outdoor activities. I often head into Dunedin (40-minute drive) in the evenings for dancing and musical activities. 

So, this is just a little advert to say that the wonderful Rural Track programme gives you this opportunity to come and explore a different part of the world. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Back in Paradise

My goodness! 

Wow - my year in Aberdeen just flew by. And, I will be honest, it wasn't as bad as I maybe thought it would be!! - I had had such a great first year of training here in Shetland that I really felt incredibly hesitant (in spite of my optimistic-self!) about the move south. However, I had two great jobs (psychiatry, A&E) which have taught me a lot for future work in General Practice. And there were a lot of extra-curricular activities on offer, both within and without of the city.  I had the added bonus of living with two good friends, which made the settling in process much easier.

I am now back in Shetland working as an ST2 in General Practice, based at Lerwick Health Centre. So far, so good! I have a super trainer, and very enthusiastic group of experienced GPs at the practice, making for what I feel is a great training experience. And as for the view out of my office window....I can't believe it is real: watching seabirds dive for fish, seals swim along and occasionally have a peerie sun-bathe outside on the rocks, looking out over Breiwick Bay and a wide expanse of water to the south....

We have had an incredible summer here: I have spent a lot of my free time swimming in the sea! We had a charity swim last weekend between two islands. It was great fun, and incredibly well supported by the community. We had a crowd of several hundred people waiting for us at the finish line! As always, the community abounds with endless quantities of activity. Google 'what's on Shetland' for more info, and check out The Shetland Times!

Looking forward to seeing

you at the Careers Fair in Glasgow on Saturday!