An insight into life away from the big cities
Doctor Penny Yarrow is an anatomical pathologist at Hobart Pathology, a private lab in Hobart, Tasmania. Doctor Archana Pandita is an anatomical pathologist at Waikato District Health Board in Hamilton, New Zealand. We spoke to Dr Yarrow and Dr Pandita to get a sense of what it’s like to work somewhere like Tasmania or Hamilton.
Dr Penny Yarrow – Tasmania
“I’m not Tasmanian originally, I grew up in NSW and trained at Prince Alfred and Concord Hospital; I also spent some time overseas training in Scotland. My husband and I decided we wanted to move out of Sydney to live and raise our family, to get out of the big city. What drew us to Hobart was the fact that there is a medical school here, all of the major specialties and required services are available. My husband is a specialist too so we needed a city which we could live in and which would have those tertiary level services. Hobart really ticked the boxes for us in terms of size and liveability of the city and work opportunities.
“At Hobart Pathology we are all general anatomical pathologists, I do histopath reporting for all the major subspecialties, including breast, gynaecological, genitourinary, colorectal, upper GI, lung, and just recently we’ve started doing cardiothoracic work because there is a new private cardiothoracic service at the private hospital. We have a pretty broad range of work.
“I think there is a perception that private pathologists, and particularly private pathologists based somewhere like Hobart, wouldn’t see a huge variety of work but in my experience, that really isn’t the case. We have a couple of private hospitals in Hobart that really do many of the many major specialties so we get a pretty broad range of pathological specimens.
“In addition to the work benefits of living here, there are certainly other things that are a bit easier about living in Hobart. For example, my commute to work is really short and I can ride to work if I want to. It’s easy if the kids need to come into work after school before they go to their after-school activities. It’s because things are so much closer together, the practicality of getting everything done is so much easier.
“Being part of a smaller professional community also means that I have found it easier to get involved in other professional endeavours outside my day-to-day job. For example I was the state councillor for the RCPA for a couple of years, and I’m on the state committee. I think this is partly due to the smaller professional community here, meaning there are more opportunities for different people to step up and get involved. Also, I know all the anatomical pathologists in Hobart. I would say those types of relationships are a bit easier to nurture, I suspect I wouldn’t have engaged in the same way in Sydney.”
Dr Archana Pandita – Hamilton
“I work in Waikato DHB as a general anatomical pathologist and also do non-gynae cytology. This is my first job as a consultant and I will complete my first three years in two months' time. I trained for five years in Wellington before I started my job here in early 2016. Although we cover all the specialties, my two special interests are gynaecological pathology and neurosurgery.
“I had a few options to work in various places when I finished my training, including Hamilton, Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch. However, as I had worked in Hamilton before I went for my training in Wellington, the area was quite familiar to me and we love the country life. So, because we had family friends here and we had a house, all those factors contributed to our decision to live and work in Hamilton.
“Waikato hospital is one of the largest tertiary hospitals in Australasia so we get a large variety of specimens, ranging from hugely complex specimens to skins and melanomas etc. Because we get such a large variety of cases to work with, it is very interesting. I love the diversity, the challenging situations and cases we need to solve. I like that Hamilton has such a variety of cases to be solved in pathology, and the cases go all the way from the very complex cases to the more simple cases, which makes the role more diverse and interesting. There is often a bit of a challenge with the complex cases but I would say that’s what makes this job fun.
“I’ve had a very positive experience throughout my first consultant job in Hamilton. I have had great support from my colleagues here, which matters a lot when you are starting in a consultant job. I also find living and working in Hamilton very peaceful; I have a family and the kids go to school nearby and my commute to work is very short (around 15 minutes). I have a lovely neighbourhood and a good work environment at the hospital so all those things contribute to me staying here.
“People think that Hamilton is a remote area but it’s not isolated at all; it’s only 1-1.5 hours from Auckland, Taupo, Tauranga, Rotorua and Raglan, and has every facility you can think of. I think if someone wants a balanced work and family life, with less time spent on the commute and a nice work environment, I would recommend that they consider Hamilton.”
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This article appeared in the October 2018 Edition of ePathWay which is an online magazine produced by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (http://www.rcpa.edu.au/Library/Publications/ePathway).
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