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8 April 2019

An Australian adventure and anaesthetics

An Australian adventure and anaesthetics

Most people don’t expect to discover their true calling while on a working holiday, but for Irish born anaesthetist Sorcha Evans a trip ‘Down Under’ gave her just that.

As a junior doctor working in an English hospital without a clear career direction, she decided to book a ticket to Australia.

“I moved to England for university and worked there for a couple of years but didn't know what I wanted to do. So I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and went Down Under on a working holiday and I just loved the lifestyle.”

After a taste of Anaesthetics while working in an Australian ICU, it wasn’t just the lifestyle that managed to cast its spell.

“It was really good fun, you get some good hands on skills, you get to see pharmacology and physiology in action. 

“More importantly the bosses were the most relaxed and happiest people I had ever met.  They actually had a life outside of work so I thought I'll give that one a crack and applied to Queensland. 

“The Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthesia said you can come if you go to Townsville and I said no problems, where’s Townsville and ended up here and loved it.”

After completing her training Dr Evans decided to return to Townville as a paediatric anaesthetist, where she also holds the role of Trainee Supervisor.

“My role is to support our trainees through the process and help guide them along those tricky situations, find their niche and discover their strengths.  I also support my other colleagues to assist trainees.”

And Dr Evans believes northern Queensland offers great opportunities for anaesthetic registrars.  She sees the scope of practice as a major drawcard, with cases from as far afield as the Torres Strait and outback Queensland.

"We get some really interesting pathology and some really diverse people.  I've worked in the UK, I've worked in Australian metropolitan areas, and you just don’t see the interesting pathology that you do here.

“I remember my first day coming into work in Townsville and I got a phone call saying can you go and see this person about an Irukandji sting.  I said sure no problem, then got off the phone and was like, I’ve never heard of Irukandji in my life.”

The training pathway for anaesthetics has become easier to navigate in the region, with registrars now able to complete all their training across northern Queensland.

“You don’t need to go to Brisbane or Melbourne if you don't want to, because between here, Darwin, Mackay and Cairns we offer all the specialities and anaesthetic techniques that you need.”

Dr Evans says Townville Hospital alone offers trainees all they need.

“We have a wide range of sub specialities, so you can do all your anaesthetic training here if you want. We do high-level anaesthetics, such as tertiary paediatrics, which is what I'm in to, as well as high-level obstetrics, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), cardiothoracic and neurosurgery.  We also offer research projects.”

Despite being a tertiary hospital, Dr Evans says The Townsville Hospital has retained a supportive, small hospital feel.

“We are pretty sociable and everybody knows each other and are really approachable.  It’s an easy hospital to manoeuvre and the commute to work is a ten minute drive.”

As for the Australian lifestyle that she first fell in love with? Dr Evans says northern Queensland has that in spades.

“This is where I learnt to dive, there is no way I would be doing that in freezing cold England or Ireland. You’ve got Magnetic Island as a tropical oasis just off the coast and you’ve got waterfalls nearby.  It’s great.”

Find out more about Anaesthetics training

> Entry requirements
> Training Time
> How to apply
> Frequently asked questions


NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.

Cairns region
(07) 4226 8187

Central West region
(07) 4764 1547

Mackay region
(07) 4885 7122

North West region
(07) 4764 1547

Torres and Cape region
(07) 4095 6103

Townsville region
(07) 4781 3424