A desire to give back, drew Endocrinologist Dr Kelly Carruthers to Heart of Australia

Posted on 6th March 2020

Dr Kelly Carruthers was drawn towards medicine by a combined love of science and a desire to connect with people.

“My attraction to science initially sparked my interest in medicine as a profession,” Dr Carruthers said. “And then once I realised how much I loved interpersonal contact, and engaging with patients, everything fell into place. Being a doctor gives you the ability to help and build connections with lots of people. These connections are incredibly rewarding and are amplified when you can watch your patients progress and achieve their personal health goals.

“I think that in medicine, there’s a spot for everyone. You can find that niche spot where you can do the most good, based on your skills, your passions and your personality. For me, my spot is in a place where I can help patients over a longer period of time with ongoing interactions. Hence my attraction to Endocrinology, where patients are usually long-term. It’s not uncommon to manage a patient for your whole career. This long-term patient engagement, along with the ability to help patients of all ages, makes endocrinology an exceptional branch of medicine to practice, and the ideal one for me.”

Inspired by the Heart of Australia story, and with her own desire to give back to the community, Dr Carruthers reached out to join the Heart of Australia team.

“I first heard about Heart of Australia during a presentation Dr Gomes gave at a fundraising function. During the presentation, Dr Gomes showed the services Heart of Australia provides to rural and regional Australians, which included endocrinology. I was instantly interested. After speaking with my colleague and Heart of Australia Endocrinologist, Dr Dover, my decision was made.”

Growing up an hour west of Bundaberg on a citrus orchard, Dr Carruthers understands the difficulty rural Australians have when it comes to accessing specialist healthcare.

“Specialist healthcare is something we often take for granted in the city, but it’s something many people living in rural locations have not had easy access to for a long time. Heart of Australia provides the opportunity for rural people to see specialists in or near their communities, and that’s something I’m so happy to be involved with.

“I believe there are two groups of rural Australians accessing these services. There are those who would otherwise be making long and expensive trips to the city, probably less often than they should. For them, our services provide more consistent treatment and negate the lengthy and costly trip into the city.

“But there is a second group, made up of patients who for reasons beyond their control, which are often financial or logistical, would never travel to get the specialist medical attention their condition needs. But they get it when the Heart Trucks roll into town. And for me, that’s where our major impact is.”

While our specialists and crew members are drawn to helping people, they also appreciate the joy that comes from travelling through the country, experiencing the sights, and enjoying the hospitality and company of regional Australia.

“The services Heart of Australia provides the rural QLD community is incredibly important. And you can’t beat being back in the country.

“Being a part of the Heart of Australia team allows you to use your skills to give back to the community. The logistics and bookings team handle all the logistics for you so you can focus on the medicine. The way the trucks are set up means you’ve got everything you need and the on-board crew provide all the support you could want. The positive team culture and the support provided makes for a fun and enjoyable experience, all while helping the people of this beautiful country.

In recognition of International Women’s Day we asked Dr Carruthers what the date means to her.

“It’s a day to reflect on the improved opportunities offered to women. But also, look at the position women hold in our modern society. For me, the 8th of March is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come.

“Coming on board as a female specialist for Heart of Australia has been a very inclusive and welcoming experience. I look forward to continuing my work with Heart of Australia, and to the difference our services will provide, including for the women of rural and regional Australia.”

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