Senior registrar switches South Africa for the South West

Doctor standing with daughter for a photo.

Dr Fay Crocker is a Senior Registrar in Emergency Medicine at Bunbury Regional Hospital.

Born in South Africa, Fay moved to Perth in 2008 with her husband. She has been working in the South West since 2017 and is currently an Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) advanced trainee.

Making the move to Australia

“I was reluctant to leave South Africa. Work-wise I was in a great position, I had just finished my mandated post internship year (community service year), had a rewarding and fulfilling job that I loved, and my training was set. Additionally, all my family were there.”

“However, my husband was offered a fantastic job in Perth with a sponsored visa so the opportunity for adventure and new experiences was too good to refuse.”

“The immediate contrast I noticed living and working in Australia was undeniable. It was refreshing to be in a well-organised, well-resourced country. More importantly we experienced a sense of security that we didn’t have living in South Africa.”

Initially, Fay practiced in emergency departments in Perth as a Resident Medical Officer (RMO) and registrar. In 2017 her husband’s work took him to Bunbury and for the year he commuted back and forth to Perth.

“My husband would come home for the weekend and sing the praises of the South West and suggesting we move as a family; but I was initially reluctant to move again.”

“This went on for most of the year before he convinced me. Early in 2018 we relocated to a small suburb close to Bunbury Regional Hospital.”

Fay and her husband enjoyed time exploring the region until they settled on buying their home in Donnybrook, a 30-minute drive out of Bunbury.

“We fell in love with Donnybrook, and the region itself. It is so beautiful and reminds me of where I grew up. We now have a five-acre property, some sheep and a pony, which is something I would never have imagined when we first left Perth.”

“Some nights after a late shift I walk out to the pony just enjoying the peace. There's no light pollution, no noise and the night sky is amazing. I feel very lucky to be where I am and for all that I have.”

Building a career in the region

It wasn’t just the region that caught Fay’s admiration but also Bunbury Regional Hospital itself, and all it has to offer.

“The emergency department (ED) in Bunbury is one of the best that I have worked in. I have found them to be incredibly supportive and we have a great team atmosphere, which can be rare in such a high-pressure environment. It is the kind of team that makes you want stay.”

“The consultant group is dynamic and committed to providing their junior staff with access to the opportunities, experiences and rotations that they need for their development and training requirements. The individual interests and skills of the junior staff are valued, and we are encouraged to participate in research, projects or be part of a task force.”

Fay also believes there is a substantial difference between metropolitan and country hospitals.

“A unique feature and part of the privilege of working in a regional setting is that you’re part of the community that you treat. It’s not uncommon that the patients you treat are known to you or related to somebody from the hospital, or a friend or neighbour.”

“In the larger centres with higher staff and patient turnover, it’s easier for individuals to blend in but in a rural setting individuals have the opportunity to step up and step out of their comfort zone, which facilitates the development of important leadership and communication skills.”

“There is a real career advantage as the pool of competition is smaller and that means that it may be possible to secure sought after or competitive rotations, or that you gain well supported procedural experience more easily.”

Why other clinicians should consider the country

Fay has some sound advice for junior doctors considering a move to WACHS.

“If you’re thinking about it, go for it! It will be a rewarding experience, and you may be like me and never leave.”

“Moving to Australia and taking a job with WACHS have been some of my best decisions. My work is rewarding, my family is happy, and I get to live in one of the most beautiful places in Western Australia.”

To find out more about working with WACHS contact our Medical Recruitment Team or visit our living and working in country WA page. For current opportunities visit our medical vacancies page.

Alternatively join the WACHS LiveHire Medical Talent Community to be the first to hear about upcoming locum and longer term opportunities.

Last Updated: 11/02/2022