Dr Vikrama has had a varied career working in hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, before transitioning to a rural GP in far north Queensland and now at Lime Medical Clinic in Mildura. Having relocated between countries and rural Australian towns, both he and his wife have become accustomed to the experience of building life anew in a different environment and work setting. Dr Vikrama shares with us what he’s learnt along the way, and how RWAV’s recruitment and grant support helped him to settle into Mildura.
Where has your career taken you so far?
I'm from Malaysia, I graduated in 2008 and went through Malaysian training for a few years. I took care of the emergency department in one of the big hospitals in Kuala Lumpur. After that I passed the AMC Part 1 and Part 2, I got onto Health Workforce Queensland and got a posting in Ingham in far north Queensland. We lived there for four years, enjoyed it thoroughly and learnt how to be a rural doctor. Then my wife had a posting to come here, Mildura, which is when I got through to RWAV and was recruited to Lime Medical Centre.
How did you find the recruitment process through RWAV?
It was good. Victoria had not been in the picture before because I think initially the issue was that I just didn’t have accurate information about the system requirements. A good friend of mine put me through to Ben (RWAV Recruitment Program Officer), and then Ben told me the real process. After understanding what was right and what's wrong, it was quite smooth from there. He said you've got enough experience, your RLRP has already been approved, and I just needed to transfer it over. Then he helped me through all the processes and I came to Mildura.
How has the transition to Mildura been for you?
When you move practices, you start from scratch altogether again. People don't know you, but you start to build your name again. I received an RWAV Relocation Grant so that helped a lot for us. I had to buy a house, and that's where I got a bit stuck financial wise and this relocation grant really helped me a lot.
Here in Mildura, you've got, first of all, a lot of help, and second, you've got a lot of education. Every week we've got something on, this week we had a pathologist come in to talk about lung cancer, last week we had an orthopaedic doctor talking about arthritis, the week before last was ENT, emergency, so you know even without having to do CPD online I'm just getting my points up. Which is good I think, I don't have to force myself and we've got allocated time every week to do that. We've got a lot of registrars here as well, and we've got a quite good setup whereby everyone comes one day and discusses a topic.
How are you and your family enjoying Mildura?
I think it's a very suitable place for young families. I've got a five-year-old and the schooling is really great. They've got standards on par with big schools in Melbourne. A lot of doctors are happy to come here and commence work because of that. There's always some unique things you can find if you want to do stuff. There are a lot of activities going on with the Murray River. I started doing 5k runs every weekend, and you get to meet people. I can only see a lot of development going on here. Having said that, I think the junior guys should want to come here as well.
Do you have any advice for doctors who are considering moving rural?
I think they should visit here. Just try it first. You know, a lot of us foreign doctors, only know big cities. Australia is so huge. All we know is, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide - that's what we think. So they think it's going to be hard for school, it's going to be hard to travel, but it's actually not. Everything is here.
So the problem I think is the perception about rural communities, they need to update that. And the only advice I would give them is to have some faith and come and visit us. Come here, look at it. See how it goes and then make a decision because it's only a one hour flight away.
You get to invest more and you don't waste time on the road. You know, you're winning in all sense. And if you do come here, you learn so much more. Your opportunity to learn is huge. So give it a try and then decide.
Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) supports health professionals to pursue a rural career in Victoria through a free recruitment service and professional development opportunities. Our recruitment team consider your unique situation – assessing your eligibility, skills, experience and professional and educational goals to match you with a practice to suit your needs. Services are free of charge and on-going post-placement support for you and your family is also provided.
If you are interested in work opportunities in country Victoria, see our current vacancies on the RWAV website.