Doctor Wellbeing

Opportunity for medical students to join the Peer Visitor Program in Kew

Every month a group of medical students meet with a group of older doctors and professionals at Kew Gardens Aged Care Facility. As well as companionship and conversation, the group enjoys guest speakers from the broader medical profession on a range of topics.

The recent gathering in March featured Dr Rosalind Terry who talked about her experiences as a doctor in Papua New Guinea. Dr Terry told stories about life and medicine including her need to improvise as the only surgeon in the hospital. Sometimes she had to operate alone managing anaesthesia as well as surgery with only an unskilled aid to assist. She was the first female surgeon in the area and as well as facing barriers due to discrimination, she was able to bring the local women on side, especially the nursing staff at the hospital by introducing the bikini line cut for C-sections.

As babies were often a good size and many of the women were young, C-sections were often needed to preserve the life of mother and baby. Trauma was a big feature of her work due to the rural location and the high incidence of road accidents and machete wounds.

Dr Terry treated all manner of health conditions including tropical diseases. She flew weekly to regional outposts and often involved the local community in caring for a patient. She told a moving story about local school children assisting with the regular plastering of a baby’s feet for correction of club foot and their delight when “their baby” was finally able to walk.

In addition to medicine, Dr Terry was known to stand in for the local vet during his summer holidays with animals being brought to the back door of the hospital. One of her more unusual experiences involved conducting an autopsy on a crocodile due to a spate of deaths at the local crocodile farm.

Future guest speakers at these Peer Visitor meetings in the coming months will include an anaesthetist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a general practitioner.

There are currently vacancies in the group for medical students to join these visits. The commitment is a visit once a month on a Wednesday afternoon at 5pm for approximately one hour. The facility is close to public transport and has onsite parking.

For more information or to express your interest in becoming involved in the visits, please contact Kay Dunkley at


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