Thanks, Covid-19. What happens when the bucket list goes bust...


31 Mar 2021
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Australia-based emergency medicine registrar Dr Eva Rosenbaum had big plans for 2020.

From hiking and climbing in Australia and New Zealand, to travelling Iceland and Israel and even the opportunity to compete in the infamous Barkley Fall Classic adventure running race… yup, Dr Eva had a bucket-list-busting year planned.

After 12 years as an intensive care paramedic and on reaching PGY4 at the age of 37, she was beginning to lose her passion for medicine. She realised it was the right time to take a break from her emergency medicine registrar job.

“I’ve realised that you just have to stop and take stock a little bit,” she explains, “I was pretty exhausted and I thought this was a good opportunity to do something for myself, to not lose passion and go back to training with a whole new approach.

“Medicine is an intense journey at whatever age you do it and there’s positives and negatives to doing it a little bit younger or a little bit older. It consumes more of your life than any other career and I was tempted to be head-down, bum-up and to push through and finish my training as quickly as I could… but we see it every day in our jobs: plans get cut short and you’ve just got to have balance.

“I love this career and I’ve met some incredible people but at the same time – you’ve got to live!”

She quit her emergency medicine job

Dr Eva decided to spend all of 2020 exploring, adventuring and ticking things off her bucket list that she’d never had the opportunity to do before. She quit her emergency medicine registrar job, but still needed some sort of financial security and didn’t want to completely step out of medicine – it had been such a big part of her life. Locuming was the obvious answer; it offered good renumeration, the opportunity to learn and travel, and enabled her to have the flexibility she needed to go on crazy adventures.

“I think I resigned from my job before I actually had a proper plan. Medrecruit enabled me to quit my job and put my finances in the hands of the gods for a year. I talked to Renae (who has been amazing throughout this whole thing), and I said: listen, I have just quit my job… what are my options? Can I just locum for a year? How does that work?”

The bucket-list-busting plan

Working with recruitment specialist Renae, Dr Eva began planning out her bucket-list-busting year. She took on emergency medicine locum jobs and managed to squeeze in a trip to Aoraki Mount Cook, in New Zealand.

“It was epic, the plans we had were epic! Every six weeks I’d be flying out of the country and then come back to do work that Renae had organised. {…} I remember sitting at the top of a mountain and we were right in front of Mount Cook and the sun was setting and I couldn’t believe that this was the start of my year… but, we got six weeks in and cue the global pandemic…”

Thanks, Covid-19

Ultimately, the pandemic spelled the end of Dr Eva’s plans for 2020. Apart from the fact that international travel was off the cards, the healthcare response needed reminded Eva how important medicine was to her life:

“Covid made me realise that medicine is part of my DNA. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. But to know that I can take a breath and take off for a period of time… I can’t describe how valuable that is.”

Though Dr Eva’s adventure plans don’t stray too far from Sydney right now, her fling with locuming and adventure have renewed her passion for medicine. Knowing that “head-down bum-up” isn’t the only option helps her tackle the day-to-day.

2020 wasn’t the bucket-list year she planned, but Dr Eva’s passion for medicine and adventure still inspires us. You can keep up with her latest escapades on her blog –
evasadventures.blog or on Instagram @eva.rosenbaum1.

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