Dr. Maureen Burke and Paddy the Dogtor, from Next Practice have decided to call BR home. We may be a little bias but we think they have done an amazing job with the location (TBs original site) and feel the Black Rock Village really has lucked out.  Along with her colleagues they are ready to help us achieve a healthy and happy community.

1. When or where did you initial passion for Medicine begin?

I would love to be able to say that I always wanted to be a doctor, but the truth is I never even considered it when I was in school! Back in Ireland, I was studying science, majoring in Physiology, and I was absolutely fascinated by how awesome the human body and brain can be, but I realised early on that I didn’t want to be  in the lab for my whole life, and this was confirmed when I was working with neurology patients in my final year for my honours program. So, I looked into my options and as I had itchy feet at the time, I decided to study medicine in Australia. I was accepted to the University of Sydney so I packed up my bags and flew across the world. That was the start of my adventures in both Australia and in medicine, and it was the best career decision I ever made. The next best career decision I made was moving to Victoria and training to be a Specialist General Practitioner, as I love to develop a long term relationship with my patients. I feel privileged that they allow me to help them with their lives a little bit.

2.What’s a typical day like for you at Next practice?

We start before 8am and get the living room ready for the day with music, flowers, fruit and refreshments. It sets the tone for the whole practice, as we try to make it a very welcoming place. We have a morning ‘huddle’ around the reception pod and discuss what needs to be done that day. I then welcome my first patient of the morning. I like to learn as much as I can about them as a whole, including their social situation and their personal beliefs about their health and how they wish to manage it. I can then tailor the management plan to each individual patient, while maintaining best practice using evidence based medicine.  The Patient Advocates and Nurses help to coordinate care for the patients, by assisting them to navigate the health system. They will make specialist appointments, chase up results and follow-up afterwards to make sure all issues are dealt with. My husband, Jacob, runs the business side of things, and I look after the patients, so it really is a family practice. All the staff usually try to have some lunch or a cup of tea together, to catch up on each other’s news, or plan our next outing. Also, we often have patients or visitors who come in just to say hello to Dogtor Paddy, our therapy dog, when they are passing by. He loves to see them, especially if they are willing to give his belly a tickle!

3. Why did you decide Black Rock for Next Practice?

My family comes from a small island off the southwest coast of Cork, called Cape Clear Island. We spent our summer weekends on my dad’s boat, so I have always been drawn to the water. It has been my dream to open my own practice by the beach, live nearby and become part of the community. My husband Jacob and I started looking for just the right spot and as soon as we walked through Black Rock we felt at home. The perfect premises was available at just the right time as Milly was growing and moving Total Balance across the street. Then I learned that the community hadn’t had it’s own GP for many years, and it all just seemed like fate! So, here we are. We are very happy and looking forward to a long life here and a long relationship with the community.