Meet our inspiring anaesthetist, Cath, “One of the things I like about working here is that no two days are alike!”

Meet our inspiring anaesthetist, Cath, who followed her passion for working in remote and rural locations to the other side of the world for an exciting career adventure on the Falkland Islands. Since 2021, Cath has thrived in her new island life. In an exclusive interview, she shares her personal experiences and invaluable advice around working abroad, collaborating with Dedicare, and the realities of living in the Falklands.

If you’re considering your next career move, you won’t want to miss this…

Cath, what does a typical workday on the Falkland Islands look like?

During the week, I usually come into the hospital just before 08:00, which gives me time to check my emails and review any patients from the previous day before the daily handover round at 08:30.

If we have visiting specialists, I will either be busy in the operating theatre or in clinic seeing patients pre-operatively. Otherwise, I could be: administering sedation or anaesthesia for surgery, advising on the care of acutely ill patients, providing analgesia or intravenous access, or doing some teaching.
One of the things I like about working here is that no two days are alike!

Have you settled into Falkland Island life?

I totally love my job and life in the Falkland Islands. This is partly because the remote location requires a much broader scope of practice than in the UK, and I relish that challenge. It’s also because this is such an outstandingly beautiful place, and the community is so welcoming and friendly.

Photo by Cath Livingstone

How do you spend your free time on the islands?

Photography and star-gazing are two big hobbies of mine, so, when I’m not working, I love going out to take photos of the wildlife, the landscapes, and the amazing skies. The Falkland Islands are great for all of these, but especially for astrophotography, due to the lack of light pollution.

How was your journey to the Falklands?

The journey is the worst part of working here. It’s a 7-hour drive from my home to RAF Brize Norton (where the flights leave from), and then an 18-hour flight to the Falklands with a 2-hour stop at Ascension Island. So, about 28 hours door to door!
The flights are also often delayed or cancelled because of weather conditions. However, Dedicare look after me very well on the journey, even if there are delays. Also, there’s usually plenty of space on the plane, and, so long as I have a window to look out of, I’m happy. Sometimes I even get some good photos from the plane!

Photo by Cath Livingstone

What motivated you to explore new career opportunities, and why specifically via a recruitment agency?

I left my previous permanent job after a personality clash with my line manager. Initially, I planned on doing locum work as a temporary measure, but I found that I really like the challenges of working in different places and with different teams, and seeing how similar problems are dealt with by different hospitals. I also discovered a particular love for the challenges and opportunities that come with working in remote and rural locations.

Why did you choose Dedicare, and how have we supported you before and during your employment?

Two good friends of mine – both former colleagues – recommended Dedicare as a very supportive and well-run organisation to work for. What also attracted me is that they offer plenty of opportunities for both remote and rural work, as well as work in large, busy hospitals where I can maintain my specialist skills.

Since I’ve been working for Dedicare, they’ve always been very helpful and professional in ways I’ve not experienced with other locum agencies. It’s also really helpful that Dedicare are registered as a responsible organisation for medical appraisals, as it can be very difficult to organise annual appraisals when working as a locum.

Photo by Cath Livingstone

What would you say to others considering working in the Falklands?

If you’re thinking of coming to the Falkland Islands to work, my first piece of advice would be to speak with someone who has worked there recently doing the same job. The scope of work here differs from that of similar jobs in most of the UK, though if you have worked in other remote and rural locations – like Orkney or Shetland – there are similarities.

You need to understand the constraints due to the small population, remote location, and vulnerable supply chain. For example, the formulary is limited, with many drugs that are commonly used in the UK, unavailable here. Also, prepare for the fact that everyone knows everyone else, and consider the importance of good interpersonal skills when working as a newcomer in a small, close-knit team. On a practical point, be aware that the internet is very poor here, and there’s a limited range of clothing and other goods available. The weather can be very windy, so bring good warm outdoor clothing – and a camera!

Would you recommend working with Dedicare?

Dedicare are by far the best recruitment agency I’ve worked for, and I’d absolutely recommend them to anyone who wants to do locum or agency healthcare work. They offer an unsurpassed range of opportunities, from busy teaching hospitals that are centres of excellence, to remote and rural locations in the UK and British Overseas Territories.

The support provided by all of Dedicare’s recruitment consultants and managers that I’ve dealt with has been fantastic. They’re always accessible and helpful, and always have my records available to save me repeating the same story to different people if I need to contact them over an issue.

Ready for a life-changing career opportunity? Get in touch and let’s match you with your dream job.