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Ep 71 – Expedition medicine (part 1)

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 the first episode in a two-part series, Drs James and Rebecca Waldron discuss adventure and expedition medicine, finding inspiration and opportunities, preparing oneself and getting started on the journey. Rebecca recently returned from a 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. In their conversation, James and Rebecca consider how such expeditions provide an opportunity for career diversification for primary care professionals.


Key take-home points:

  • Expedition medicine is a great opportunity to experience medicine outside the typical clinical environment and to travel.
  • Although much of the work can be similar to that in primary care, there are notable practical elements that are outside the remit of general practice – such as altitude and tropical medicine.
  • There are courses available to help clinicians prepare for expeditions and provide inspiration as to the different avenues available.
  • If you want to get involved in expedition medicine, set an intention to do it and put aside time for it. Make it a priority.
  • Expedition medicine allows clinicians to put their existing medical skills to work on something they are passionate about; combine both worlds!
  • Working with Sea Shepherd was a way for Dr Waldron to contribute to marine conservation and find a specific role in supporting environmental issues.

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