Want to work on a tropical island?

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Before working for Locum’s nest, Clinical Lead Dr. Ben Herring did several trips as an expedition medic.  One of these trips was to a remote Indonesian Island called Hoga to take care of a group of scientists and students as part of a scientific dive expedition.

Wait….this was work??

‘Working on Hoga is very different to working back in the UK as you can imagine.  There is a small clinic hut and we opened 3 times a day to ensure everybody had  a good chance to come and get checked over if they needed it.  Obviously between the opening hours I was available for emergencies but during my time there things were under control!

Starting off each new intake of students with a briefing on ‘self-help’ medical tips like maintaining hydration and health and safety advice is an essential part of the work and really helps to set the tone of the students being responsible for their own health.  The main problems on the island were similar to most expeditions.  The tropical environment means a need to be conscious of remaining hydrated; the makeup of the island means natural hazards like coral holes needed to be avoided, which was helped by using a torch at night.  Diarrhoea and vomiting are of course an issue but with good hand hygiene, hydration and appropriate review with the medic things never normally got too troublesome.  As there was diving involved there were always ears to be looked into!  Ear complaints were probably the commonest on the island but rarely anything more serious than needing some time out of the water and a few ear drops.

Part of the challenge was working with reduced resources and having to work with what you have and doing the best you can for those on the island.  Having said that there was a good supply of medicines and equipment for how isolated you are.  Being several hours away from the nearest comprehensive clinic comes with its own challenges as well.  All of these skills are what comes with being an expedition medic and improves my overall practice as a medic each time I go away.

As well as the medical side we also got to enjoy the benefits of being on the island.  I enjoyed being able to spend time reading, enjoying the beautiful scenery but most of all the opportunity to be able to dive!  All of the different reef topography and wildlife were great to see not only from an entertainment point of view but also seeing how the teams conduct their data collection and learning about the research that is being undertaken.

If you enjoy being cut off from the world on a tropical island and want to challenge yourself in a new way, especially as a medic, I would recommend a stay in Hoga!’

Here at Locum’s Nest we know that trips like this are popular but often have to be self funded by the doctor.  Why not book a few extra shifts to help afford an opportunity similar to this?  Our app gives you easy access to shifts from all our partner hospitals and across all specialties.  What are you waiting for? Book some shifts and pack your bags!

Nicholas Andreou