Senior Medical Officer, Medical Unit, Canberra
Other key placements including overseas assignments
Of course one of the interesting aspects of working with DFAT is the travel. Since joining the department I have had the opportunity to do short term assignments. I have worked at overseas posts in Port Moresby, Jakarta and New Delhi.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a Bachelor of Science with Honours. I then studied a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree. After working in public hospitals, I then did post graduate studies in General Practice and became a Fellow of the College of General Practitioners.
What were you doing before you joined DFAT?
I was accompanying my wife on her posting in Seoul, Korea. Before going to Korea, I worked in private practice as a General Practitioner.
Why did you apply to DFAT?
The position as a medical officer in DFAT offered the opportunity to do something different. I could get out of the familiar hospital or clinic and do medicine in a different environment that offered variety to my work.
How have you used your Medical training during your time at DFAT?
The medical unit in Canberra assists DFAT to operate six medical clinics associated with posts in South East Asia. While my position is predominantly based in Canberra, I have done locum work in some of the clinics while the regular doctor was away. Other Medical Officers will do a longer term posting at one of the clinics.
The medical unit in Canberra also provides a medical advisory service for DFAT staff at overseas posts around the world as well as Canberra. I have enjoyed the non clinical work also as it offers me a chance to do new things.
What has been the highlight of your career so far with DFAT?
While no single event stands out, it has to be the sheer variety of circumstances I have found myself in over the last year or so, including, of course the travel to multiple destinations. It might be guiding a child to a private clinic in order to get x-rays after hours in Papua New Guinea, vaccinating hundreds of staff in Jakarta or advising a staff member over the phone working in the jungle who has just lost vision in one eye.
I have felt lucky and privileged to stand at the beginning of the Kokoda track in PNG or walk through the Red Fort in Old Delhi.
As a Medical Officer, why would you recommend DFAT as a career?
Working at an overseas post offers medical doctors a chance to do medicine in a unique environment. The clinic you work in is first world but you work alongside medicine in a developing country. This is interesting and challenging at the same time.
While at post you have the chance to work with interesting people who come from a multitude of different government departments, agencies and work cultures that make up an embassy.
The work might suit a younger doctor who has not yet completed specialty training and wants to travel or it may suit a doctor who is just looking for a change of environment in order to refresh their interest in life.