SS Canberra, Docked in Sydney Harbour

by Richard Arnot*

During an interesting six-month internship at the West Cornwall hospital in Penzance, Cornwall I looked for a berth on a square-rigged sailing ship with the intention of sailing round the world.  Fortunately common sense prevailed, and instead I joined P&O as junior surgeon on the SS Canberra, and set off from Southampton in August 1966.

It was a great introduction to life at sea - romantic, wicked, and a wonderful experience in life affairs. I rubbed shoulders with the great and famous, including Cary Grant and his wife Dyan Cannon, with whom I was on first name terms.

During that voyage I had one day ashore in Sydney, one of the very few during the trip around the world, and fell in love with Australia, lying on starlit Bondi beach.

Medicine men pursue work-life balance

At the start of this year Dr Katherine Willis-Sullivan (DMS of the Lismore Base Hospital), and Dr Sue Veloski (local General Surgeon) advised me that a ‘Women in Medicine Night’ was being organized, and suggested it might be good to have a similar event for men.

Our task as clinicians, male and female, is demanding, both intellectually and emotionally, and at times physically. We must pass through numerous training barriers and overcome examination hurdles, all while seeking to provide excellent care to our patients.

Hopefully somewhere along the way we also look after ourselves. While the concept of ‘Clinician Wellbeing’ may not be new, recent reviews into the culture of medicine have brought this into stark relief. A further example was provided recently with the RACP Primary examinations, and the immense distress and disruption this debacle caused to candidates sitting exams.

Dr Marissa Barker discusses ways of making hospital postings less daunting for new residents.

Rural medicine continues to grow from strength to strength, with Lismore a leading centre for excellence. In 2018, we have welcomed 12 new rural preferential recruits (RPRs) to Lismore Base Hospital where they will be completing internship and residency  over the next two years.

LBH is an attractive location for new graduates, offering terms across a broad range of clinical specialties along with a reputation for exceptional senior clinician support. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly evident that lifestyle influences, the allure of rural clinical practice and the culture and backdrop of the Northern Rivers hold both personal and professional appeal.

On 31 January 2018, a welcome dinner for the newly commencing interns was held at the Lismore Workers Club, hosted by the recently formed Women in Medicine and Men in Medicine groups, with support from LBH and the North Coast Primary Health Network.. The dinner was a great success, with 40 attendees coming together to welcome our newest clinical colleagues. It was wonderful  to see doctors of all seniority at the event, many of whom have been practicing in the Northern Rivers for several decades. This was a rare opportunity for new interns who were starting their first week.

Dr Stephen Moore and his backyard observatory

On a clear night you can see forever, (with apologies to playwright Alan Jay Lerner) 

For weeks the weather was dry and the sky cloudless, leading Northern Rivers residents, especially gardeners to believe - foolishly, of course - that it might never rain again.

Then, on the afternoon of 31 January 2018 the clouds built up and by dusk there was no sky to be seen. No sunset, and more importantly, no full moon starting to rise.

Amidst all the media hype, the local area, and a good deal of eastern Australia, would miss out on seeing what was billed a once in a lifetime event, a Super Blue Blood Moon.

With a desperate hope of glimpsing this rare event, the first total lunar eclipse since 2015, many locals stayed up, or roused themselves, at midnight, but to no avail.

Groans of disappointment, even anger, flooded social media, further fuelled by links to a host of websites where sky gazers posted stunning images of the Moon over the Pyramids, the mosques of Istanbul, and much of the USA (thank you Steve Scanlon from Locust, New Jersey who snapped the event at the civilised time of 6.53am).

If we felt let down, how devastated were the ardent astro-photographers who spend hours each week looking into space and recording the movements of the galaxies and planets that circulate above us?

CPR training at Goonellabah Medical Centre

Cardiac-pulmonary resuscitation is a compulsory part of accreditation and vocational registration. Dr Ruth Tinker favours a new service that ticks all the boxes. 

Would you like to:-

  • build teamwork and clinical partnerships within your practice?
  • help your team to get their compulsory CPR certification ?
  • review your in practice emergency protocols?

The team at the Goonellabah Medical Centre recently arranged for their CPR training through the new service provided by UCRH, Lismore. The CPR Training Unit can come to your practice out of hours, usually in the evening of a business day.