Life as an F3 in Bundaberg, Queensland
We recently spoke with Dr Kaushi Dave, who took a role at Bundaberg Hospital in Queensland, Australia, in their Emergency Department, for her F3 year. In this interview, she discusses her life in Australia and how it differs to life back home.
Messly is currently supporting Bundaberg Hospital to hire a UK junior doctor to their Emergency Department, starting in February 2021. For more information, see the full job listing here.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and why you made the move to Australia?
I’m currently an F3 doctor, and I moved to Australia after finishing up my Foundation Training.
The reason I chose to move to Australia was mainly due to experiencing quite high stress levels while working for the NHS, and I had some friends who all highly recommended the change.
Where are you currently working?
I’m working as an SHO in the Emergency Department at Bundaberg Hospital in Queensland.
How is the job different to working in the UK?
There are higher responsibilities at a faster rate here compared to back home. You have to be prepared to learn very fast on the job, but that in itself is very rewarding.
Bundaberg Hospital specifically is quite well supported in terms of seniors and teaching opportunities. Procedures are abundant in the department and seniors are happy to accommodate those who show that they’re keen to learn and work hard.
The senior staff here are supportive towards your aspirations for future roles, and you feel that someone’s advocating for your every success which is an exceedingly important part of growth as a doctor.
The hospital itself is full of friendly staff, always on hand to help you out if you ever get confused about where to go.
What’s it like living in the area?
‘Bundy’ is a seaside city. It’s just a short distance up the coast from Fraser Island and Hervey Bay, which are popular attractions for people to visit when they come to Australia.
The area itself is semi-rural, with miles of beautiful farmland and a beach town just a 15-minute drive from the city centre. There are lots of great surf opportunities here and plenty of tourist activities to enjoy.
I live in Bargara, a town up the coast around 15 minutes drive from the hospital. It's where most of the doctors live. You get a good rota here, with a block of six days off per fortnight. That allows for plenty of time to enjoy Bargara and other sights without having to take any annual leave.
There's easy access to Brisbane, the closest major city, which is about a four-hour drive away
How have your finances been since moving out?
Pay is excellent here, and Queensland pays the best out of all the states in Australia. You’re paid for your over-time (without being questioned about it), as well as higher pay for weekends and nights.
Living costs are much lower in Bundaberg than in the major Australian cities too.
Editor’s Note: Queensland’s pay rates for doctors can be found here. As an F3 you can expect to be paid between £51,000 to £64,000 depending on the role (and exchange rates!). According to Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment in central Bundaberg costs A$892 per month (about £500).
How have you settled in?
The hardest thing about moving out was leaving everything I knew behind, including my family, and the NHS. I’ve basically had to start all over again in an unfamiliar environment, but it was well worth the upheaval.
Although you may miss family and friends back home, it’s easy to make a pack of new friends in Bundaberg because everyone is willing to go out their way to ensure you’re not left out and feel included in the group.
The Emergency Department is a great social scene, whereby everyone encourages you to come out whenever possible and get to know you outside of work, and this is the same for all types of healthcare staff. In my experience, my great colleagues here have made the move easy.
What tips do you have for other doctors thinking about making a similar move?
My tips would be to save enough money for the move. You’re not paid for a month when you arrive, so it’s important to think ahead about things like a car and a deposit and the first month of rent, or whatever else you may need.
If you're considering spending your F3 year working abroad, why not check out this vacancy at Bundaberg Hospital? They're looking to hire a UK junior doctor in their Emergency Department, and you can find the full job listing and register your interest here.