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Falling in love with the friendliness and lifestyle of regional communities

01 June 2020




Raised on a cattle property in remote North Queensland, FRANZCOG Dr Sam Newbury cannot speak highly enough of country life.

“There is a peace that you get with being regional and remote that you just can’t beat,” Dr Newbury says. “You remove a lot of unnecessary stress from your life. I feel it allows you to live a more wholesome life.”

That love of the open spaces and fresh air has brought Dr Newbury, a gynaecologist, to the vibrant community of Warrnambool – three hours outside of Melbourne – with his wife, Belinda, and their two children. Their home is located on three acres of land, with the beach a short drive away.

“It’s a beautiful part of the world,” Dr Newbury says.

Choosing medicine

When asked why he decided to study medicine, Dr Newbury recalls a major emergency when he was growing up involving a young married couple on their central Queensland farming property. That property was his neighbour’s.

27 year old Gayle Shann was working with her husband putting in fence posts on their property when her glove became entangled in a drilling machine inflicting shocking injuries and ripping her apart. It would take 10 minutes for the nearest neighbour to arrive and a further two hours for the flying doctor to get there.
 
Luckily for Gayle that neighbour was Dr Newbury’s mother, Robyn – a former nurse. It was acknowledged that Robyn single-handedly kept Gayle alive, with the tale being told in a 2003 episode of Australian Story on ABC TV.
 
“I wasn’t there at the time, I was at school, but what it said to me was that when it really comes down to the nuts and bolts, there is really only one set of skills that matter and only one set of skills that will make a difference when a loved one is really in trouble,” Dr Newbury says.

Women’s health

After completing medical school at James Cook University in 2009 Dr Newbury moved to Mater Mothers Hospital in Brisbane to chase an education in women’s health. His Gynaecology and Obstetrics training occurred throughout metropolitan, regional and rural Queensland.

After his last year of training spent in Cairns Dr Newbury moved to South West Victoria for more education, before permanently relocating to Warrnambool.

With a special interest in Endometriosis and pelvic pain and minimally invasive gynaecological surgery, Dr Newbury says the opportunity to make a difference is one of the reasons which gets him out of bed every morning.

“With your patients, you can sit down and map out a plan with them and you know that in a couple of months that woman’s life will be different, better hopefully, or at least, they are better informed,” he says. “The provision of information and patient education is one of the biggest parts of our job – it is so important”.

“On the operative side, I like to be good at it, I want to be good at it, so I am always challenging myself and learning from my peers.

“And then there is the interaction I have with the staff – the collegiality – and the joyful environment you are in every day.”

And his advice for today’s O+G trainees? “Never underestimate the importance of being polite and kind,” Dr Newbury says. “Most of the other stuff you can be taught and you will learn, the skill acquisition will come with time, but if you don’t start from a point of genuine kindness then I think it is a hard road to travel.”

Involvement with the College, advocacy for Regional Fellows

Dr Newbury has been heavily involved with the College during his career, first as trainee representative and now advocating on behalf of Regional Fellows.

“Sometimes there is a misconception of what happens in regional and rural communities,” Dr Newbury says. “It is a matter of creating a system that is collegial, and we have that in aspects, we just need to improve on it.

“Let’s look at the regional training post commitments and how we can uphold those. Allow Regional Fellows to represent themselves and showcase what really happens in their communities and detail their experiences and learnings.”


Above: Sam with his wife, Belinda, and their two children


Above: Sam and one of his daughters, along with his sister.


Above: Sam's backyard


Above: A little mountain between two of the hospitals Sam works at



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