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Ep 75 – Expedition medicine (part 2)

The call to adventure is felt by many and general practice is a career that can take you there! As GPs grow their portfolios, they look for interesting and unusual ways to forge their own paths. This can take them all round the world (and back again). In this follow-up to episode 71, Drs James and Rebecca Waldron continue their discussion about Rebecca's 3-month voyage with the marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd. As the boat's medic, she tended to crew members' daily illnesses, performed infection control during a COVID outbreak, and provided emotional support.


Key resources:


Key take-home points:

  • Working on a boat presents challenges not faced on land.
  • Dealing with uncertainty is key when faced with limited resources.
  • It is possible to manage with only limited diagnostic tests available.
  • Tropical disease knowledge is important, and infections from elsewhere (such as bed bugs from the national park or COVID) could be brought onto the ship, causing problems.
  • Knowing that you are days away from the nearest hospital, risk management was a persistent challenge.
  • Self-belief is essential because advice does not always come quickly. Training in medicine prepares you for a lot, so believe in yourself!
  • Medicine can offer a versatile career, especially for GPs, where there are opportunities to build a portfolio career.
  • Find what excites you, and devote your energy to what gives you energy.

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