Doctor Careers & Lifestyle: Tasmania in Focus
The experience of leaving the rat race to work in a rural or regional area is changing. With exceptional schools, modern recreational facilities, artisanal shopping and some of the best international cuisine, moving away from crowded metropolitan cities and sprawling suburbs to regional centres is becoming a popular trend.
We at Ochre believe Tasmania to be one of the best examples of a regional centre where you can attain that enviable balance of career and lifestyle.
With a fast-growing population, Tasmania boasts four major public hospitals, a support network of rural hospitals with multipurpose services, several privately run hospitals and a range of general practices including 12 Ochre Health medical centres.
We caught up with two members of the Ochre family who are loving life down on the Apple Isle.
Imagine living and working in a place with access to some of the world’s best schools, universities and research facilities—and where your children can ride their bikes to school and surf after the bell?
Ochre Regional Manager Nicky Pollington lives with her family in Cremorne, a town located on the South Arm Peninsula on the outskirts of Hobart. “It’s a small community focused on the beach and the surf, with lots of small families and some older retirees. My children enjoy a cohort of other kids within the area ranging from two to 17 years-old who create, build and play together,” Nicky explains.
“I honestly feel my family and I are safe at all times. And because we’re a relatively small suburb we’re all connected and look out for each other. It’s a nice community feel.”
Given it’s a small place, we ask if she ever gets bored or feels boxed in?
“Not at all,” she laughs. “The outdoors life is incredible with the most amazing sailing, bushwalking, surfing, mountain biking and camping right on our doorstep.
“We have a sailing boat which we keep at Kettering and we love to get away for the weekend whenever we can.”
With regular rainfall and a mild climate, Tasmanians also enjoy an abundance of fresh produce, with numerous renowned restaurants, wineries, cheese and chocolate shops in and around Hobart, as well as local markets taking place across the island.
“And don’t forget our vibrant arts and music scene including The Festival of Voices in summer, the Mid-Winter Feast in Huonville and the Mona effect, which has brought a steady stream of internationally acclaimed artists to our communities during winter as well,” Nicky adds.
The Wild West Coast
Over on Tasmania’s West Coast, Dennis Pashan took on a GP VMO and Medical Co-ordinator role in Queenstown in 2015 and has never looked back. Before making the leap to the Apple Isle, Dennis worked for 43 years in rural and remote Queensland, as a rural generalist with emergency medicine, obstetrics, anaesthetics and general practice, as a director of a rural and remote health university department for 13 years, in addition to working as director of medical services overseeing 18 rural hospitals in the Darling Downs in SE Queensland.
“I thought it was time to explore new communities and return to clinical practice full time,” he explains. “My wife and I bought a house in a beautiful place on the D’Entrecasteux Channel overlooking Bruny Island near Hobart. But I wanted a place to practice that would accommodate my skills mix and Queenstown was a good fit. The practice staff and patients made it a simple choice.”
According to Dennis, the ‘West Coasters’ as they are fondly known, are an interesting mix of people. “We’ve got the elderly who were employees of TasWater and Tas Hydro, miners or timber workers and the younger generations. These include a new influx of people migrating from the mainland and elsewhere in Tasmania for cheaper housing, the wildness and the sheer beauty of the place."
With a long and accomplished career behind him, we ask Dennis what he enjoys most about his latest work in Tasmania?
“The thing I enjoy the most about is the people. I am dedicated to meeting their health needs, caring for them in times of health crises, enjoying the stories they share, seeing their resilience and the way they look after and care for each other."
“I am also faced with resolving the complexities of their often chronic and complex co-morbidities, providing acute care when things turn ugly and working with them to try to get their health back on track."
“To appreciate the full life experience of these people has been a joy tinged sometimes with sadness, but a privilege. And this is the beauty of being a rural doctor, one which I have enjoyed in the 47 years I have spent in rural and remote Australia.”
A big thank you to Nicky and Dennis for sharing your thoughts with us.
Is it time you made the move to Tasmania?
Tassie has all sorts of locations on offer including modern metropolitan centres, the wildness of the west, the granite and white sand beaches of the east, rural farming communities and the magic of King and Flinders Islands.
Ochre Health has 12 practices across Tasmania, all with established teams working together to make the most of living in their communities. There are lots of ways to experience it, some that we may not have even thought of yet – if you have an idea of how you would like to make it work, we’d love to hear from you.