In November 2017, Stephen Maguire spent time on the APY Lands with NHC. As a final year medical student from the University of Aberdeen, Stephen was looking for somewhere exciting to spend his final year medical elective. After hearing from a friend about the work of Dr Mike Langran at Nganampa Health, he was interested in learning more about their work and getting experience within a rural setting.
“I knew very little about the APY Lands and, after some research, decided it sounded like a unique experience. Being from rural Ireland, the thought of spending some time in outback Australia was something which filled me with much excitement. I then contacted Dr Mike Langran and David Busuttil, pretty much out of the blue and I was so amazed at the support and willingness to allow a medical student to spend some time with them.
From the start of my journey here, from when I boarded my first ever small aircraft, I knew this was going to be an experience like no other. A million miles away from my life in Ireland, the sights and sounds of this amazing place were like something from a different world; the beauty was mesmerising. I felt privileged to have the opportunity to meet the fantastic Anangu people, hear their stories and learn about their history and culture.
Watching the team work in the clinic afforded me opportunities to witness medicine in a very different light to what I was used to. Working in a rural setting presented challenges which took a lot of problem solving and teamwork. This always kept staff on their toes and made for a fantastic place to work, if, like myself, you enjoy a challenge. No two days were ever the same. We could be waiting for the RFDS to arrive to evacuate a patient, or a local could bring in a kangaroo. I was certainly never bored.
I think the most enjoyable aspect for me though, was working with an absolutely fantastic group of people, be it the clinic staff, the visiting specialists, maintenance staff and everyone else I interacted with. Everyone was so keen to teach me both in medicine and about the APY lands and its people.
The experiences I had out here will stay with me for life. The experience has helped me grow my medical knowledge vastly and learn to adapt to situations in a way I would never have got to experience in an urban setting. I am honestly counting down the days until I can return, and hopefully someday in the future I can get the opportunity to work for NHC, with its incredible staff and the communities it serves. If you are after an incredible experience, love an adventure, enjoy problem solving and working with fantastic people, the opportunity to work for Nganampa Health Council and the people of the APY lands, is one certainly not to be missed!”