After working as a self-employed GP for 35 years, 61 year-old Dr Virgil Pierini from the Mornington Peninsula retired but wanted to continue his medical work in some way. Having previously worked in the Northern Territory, he decided to work with RAHC in Tennant Creek, helping to improve access to services and health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
“I was inspired to commence a placement in Tennant Creek, driven by an old medical student desire to give back to an area in need and the prospect of providing support to the hard-working permanent health workforce in remote Northern Territory communities,” Dr Pierini said.
Having experienced its effect first-hand, Dr Pierini is positive in his assessment of RAHC and its benefit to the Indigenous community.
“There is a very real need for medical personnel; doctors, nurses and allied health professionals,” he said. “In many cases the communities are severely in need of medical help.”
Over three decades experience as a GP work put Dr Pierini in good stead for the type of medicine he encountered. "I didn't feel out of my depth at all,” he said. “There was nothing different to worry any competent doctor.”
Working in remote communities provides health professionals with an array of experience and the opportunity to develop their scope of practice in ways that would not necessarily be available in an urban hospital or health centre.
Dr Pierini’s advice to people considering working in the Northern Territory is to prepare themselves for an unfamiliar environment. “Although it will be an experience which takes you out of your comfort zone, the rewards more than make up for the challenges you will face,” he said.
“On my last day a group of ladies from one of the communities I visited invited me to sit under a tree with them, just chatting. They felt so at ease with me and it made me realise that I had been accepted by them.
"To really make the most of your experience listen to the people living in the communities and observe how they interact with each other.
“I truly believe this helped me connect with them and helped me gain their trust.”
Would you like to share your RAHC experience with other Health Professionals? We are always looking for RAHC Health Professionals to tell us about their experience, by preparing a RAHC story. If you are willing to share your story, please contact your Placement Consultant or email us.