Monday, 10 December 2012

The tale of the Western Isles.. so far... the first 4 months..

My partner, Chris, and I moved over to the Western Isles in August with nervous anticipation. We are currently undertaking our first year of hospital-based training. Since our first day in the Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway we have been welcomed with open arms by the staff, patients and community alike. I wanted to be part of a community and work with a close multi-disciplinary team which is particularly important in rural medicine and my experience of this so far has been fantastic. I have also had the opportunity to attend clinics and home visits on the Isles of Harris and on the Southern Isles. The hospital roles are very well supported by Consultants and with no middle grade staff, we are encouraged to develop more advanced diagnostic and procedural skills than working in larger city hospitals. 

I chose rural medicine as a new opportunity to broaden my horizons, I feel rural medicine is constantly providing new and different challenges.

The Western Isles is a beautiful rural location, as a group of islands with a variety of geographical beauty. The main town Stornoway (Isle of Lewis) has excellent local restaurants, fantastic seafood, theatre/cinema and nearby outdoor activities. We have been very lucky to have a fantastic work-life balance here - since arriving we have been walking on dozens of beautiful beaches, surfing, kayaking, wildlife spotting (Dolphins, Golden Eagles) and horse riding on the beach. We've had several weekends staying down on the Isle of Harris, including taking part in the Harris Mountain Festival Ceilidh, walks and races. 

I am originally from Leicestershire, England and  began my medical training in Aberdeen where I fell in love with Scotland and decided to continue my further training here. I undertook the foundation programme in the North Deanery, with the first year in Aberdeen and second in Inverness. This allowed time for me explore the spectacular Highlands and Islands and this was when I felt my heart belonged there. During this time I was strongly inspired to do rural GP practice by my placements in Connel (near Oban, Argyll) and Aviemore (Highlands).  

I have started this blog to share my love for the Highlands and Islands and promote training in these areas. I hope to inspire more people to consider joining us in training up here!