Finding perfect balance

Morgan Liotta

18/03/2019 10:54:57 AM

Dr Brett Penwarn’s philosophy on health and wellbeing is simple: do what you love.

Dr Brett Penwarn and patient
Dr Brett Penwarn, who surfs every day for his exercise and relaxation, believes in practising what he preaches when it comes to providing healthcare.

‘I strongly believe the key to a happy and healthy life is balancing and prioritising our precious, yet limited, time on this earth,’ Dr Penwarn told newsGP.
‘Finding the ideal balance of time for family, exercise, work, relaxation and hobbies is a constant tug- of-war, but essential.
‘Doing what you love is the key for me.’
Dr Penwarn currently divides his time between working as a practice principal alongside 23 other doctors as a general practice supervisor and examiner, spending time with his family, and surfing.
He also volunteers once a year with medical and dental groups in remote villages in Fiji, which he finds ‘extremely fulfilling’.
‘Grateful for all I have, I love to give back,’ he said. 
Maintaining a work–life balance is something Dr Penwarn values for not only himself and his family, but also his patients.
‘I make sure I am always there for my wife and three children,’ he said.
‘As GPs, we are the patients’ healthcare manager and the centre of their specialty and allied health circle for treatment, support, communication and total care.’
Becoming a GP did not initially come as a natural choice for Dr Penwarn. During medical school, he enjoyed all aspects and found it difficult to decide on a specialty. After several years of hospital experience, accident and emergency was a close second choice for its ‘variety and intensity.’
However, he ultimately decided on general practice, completing the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program with the RACGP – which he chose for the ‘additional continuity of care without the compulsory lifetime commitment of shift work in general practice’. 
‘After that, I knew that being a GP allowed me to utilise all of my knowledge and training, not just a part of it,’ he said.
It seems Dr Penwarn made the right choice to house his lifestyle.
‘General practice has the greatest diversity of ongoing presentations and challenges, from birth to death,’ he said.
‘It accommodates and welcomes a lifestyle to work the hours, days and locations that suit our changing stages of life.’
Being able to adapt to life and maintain balance is something Dr Penwarn sees as an ongoing part of life, from back when he remembers growing up, to his current day-to-day life.
‘My parents taught me to have a broad outlook on life, which is integral for general practice,’ he said.
‘Initially I found [juggling work–life] difficult, but I have learnt that it’s okay to say no nicely, so I am able to balance my priorities and cope with life’s stress and demands.
‘I aim to remain fit, happy, healthy and eternally grateful.’

This article was originally published with the spelling 'Dr Penwarm' and has since been corrected to 'Dr Penwarn'.

Australian General Practice Training program become a GP work–life balance

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A.Prof Christopher David Hogan   19/03/2019 3:50:20 PM

Indeed , find your passion & follow it. General Practice is full of possibilities & opportunities. Do not be a prisoner of excessive caution