Welcome to IMC! You are our first Irish doctor. Do you go back to Ireland often? What do you miss about the Emerald Isle?
Thanks so much. Yes, I try to go back at least every year but in 2019, I’ll actually be making two trips. Lots to miss about Ireland – my mum and sisters mainly, which is cliché I know, but true nonetheless. I still have great friends at home too so if there is any good news, or bad news for that matter, I hate not being able to share it in person.
You have trained across the world – Singapore, Ireland and Australia. Which is your favourite country and why?
Each country has its pros and cons. Ireland will always be home, not matter how long I am away. I adore it and I don’t know if anywhere I’ve travelled to lives up to its charm!
I have loved Australia ever since I saw my first episode of ‘A Country Practice’ and if it were just a tad closer to Ireland, it would be Utopia for me. The weather, the Australian humour, the food….. it’s all pretty wonderful.
I’ve been in Singapore for a year now and so far so good. I do find the weather tough-going but the food, the 2am trips to Mustafa and the pool downstairs make up for it. Given I can’t decide outright on my favourite country, I’ll do my own rating based on my favourite low cost airline – Scoot, Ryanair or Jetstar… and as unpopular as it may be, Ryanair is still number one for me!
Why did you decide to train as a Doctor?
I can’t ever remember deciding to be honest. Actually come to think of it, I wanted to be a vet when I was younger because I grew up on a farm and thought vets were absolute heroes. I definitely saw the vet more than the GP! But either way, it was a great career choice and it has given me plenty of opportunities and satisfaction.
My husband is Singaporean and he wanted to spend more time with his folks here.. simple as that! I find it hard to say no to a little adventure.
You have recently become a mother for the first time (congratulations)! Is motherhood what you expected? Are you getting enough sleep?
Thanks! Honestly, I didn’t have any idea what to expect. Perhaps, when you’re a GP, you see the tougher sides of motherhood, be it with seeing sick children, babies that don’t sleep or feed or mums who are finding things tough going themselves. So, in a way I think I was pretty realistic about the ups and downs that babies can bring. But I’m loving it for sure. I’m lucky though, my daughter is a very good natured baby and a quick feeder (like me) so no matter how many times she wakes at night, it’s never for too long. In fact it’s more my husbands snoring that keeps me awake, not Julie!
In Australia you attended an ‘in-school’ clinic. What sort of health issues were common within the student body?
The idea of an in-school clinic was to make the GP more accessible, less intimidating, very affordable and to allow students be more accountable for their own health. The vast majority of patients coming to see me wanted to discuss mental health issues ranging from gender dysphoria to violence at home. Anxiety and depression were touched upon in each visit regardless of whether that was the presenting complaint. This was to try and make talking about mental health less taboo. Apart from that, sexual health issues like contraception, healthy relationships and consent were a common enough presentations. There was about a 60 / 40 mix of female to male patients.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading Mythos by Stephen Fry. It’s a gentle introduction to the gore of Greek mythology and a great read.