We spent three weeks in Australia and enjoyed a wonderful dinner cruise in Sydney Harbor.
Happy New Year 2011!
It certainly does not feel like Christmas / New Year with sunset at about 10 pm and sunrise at 4 am here in New Zealand. Although the temperature is only about 80 degrees F it feels much warmer with the piercing sun - when it comes out. We just had three solid days of rain and gale force winds closing the airports in Invercargill and Dunedin. I survived the coldest winter with the greatest snowfall in the history of Invercargill over the last 60 years. The weather is constantly changing even in one day - might be 35 F in the morning and 80 F in the evening!
The biggest news is that I am not returning to the US. I have applied for permanent residency in NZ and have accepted a permanent job here in Invercargill!
I think that coming here has added 20 years to my career. Unless you have experienced it, I don't think you can really understand what being in a kind, relaxed place is like. People are nicer. Patients and families say thank-you. Wait times can be four to six hours for minor cases on the weekends and there is not the anger and sense of entitlement that one sees in a US ED. There is a more collegial relationship among the physicians also. I really like the people I work with. There is such a sense of camaraderie and mutual support - among all the staff.
I also enjoy medicine much more here than in the US. There is less diagnostic testing and more emphasis on history, physical exam and clinical decision making. At first I thought it odd that I had to discuss with the radiologist to obtain a CT or ultrasound but it actually helps and the limited hours of availability guarantees that only truly necessary scans will be obtained. There is a sonosite machine in the department and I have gotten decent with doing my own bedside scans. The registrars (like US residents) are trained to make clinical decisions and are comfortable with it. Abdominal pain that is unclear gets observed with serial exams. If still unclear, CT may be considered or alternatively a quick look laparoscopy.
Greg spent 10 days up north catching trout.
There are openings here if anyone wants a break from the US ED! You can arrange your own job either here or in Australia, but for a short-term assignment I strongly recommend going through an agency . I went through VISTA (and so did several of the other US docs) and was very happy with what they did. The District Health Boards actually hire the doctors but you have to get a work visa, a license (annual practicing certificate from NZ Medical Board and a bunch of other paperwork.) The three otherlocum tenens ED docs and one internal medicine doc who I worked with who went through VISTA are all outstanding - and no, I get no kick-back from them! Plus, NZ is rated by the UN as the third best country in the world to live.
Two of the US ED docs in three months have managed to go sky diving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, surfing and kayaking in the Milford Sound and then went to Sydney to celebrate the New Year which is a huge spectacular on the wharf there. They have also taken up fly fishing and been golfing with my husband, Greg.
Our Akitas, Miko and Katana, attract a lot of attention wherever we go.