Part Three – Interview with Dr Mark Norman – Chief Medical Officer

Doctor Mark Norman Defence force

We have now reached part three of our four-part interview with Dr Mark Norman, Chief Medical Officer at Healthcare Australia Defence (HCA) and Medical Officer (MO) On-base at Australian Defence Force (ADF) Healthcare Centres.

In part one, we talked with Dr Mark about his medical background, how his career began as a Doctor and his transition from working as a General Practitioner (GP) to a Medical Officer On-base at ADF Healthcare Centres. Check out the part one here.

In part two, Dr Mark spoke with us about his active involvement in the Healthcare industry, the working environment On-base and the differences between working as a Doctor in Private Practice and On-base. In case you missed it, check out part two here.

In this interview, we speak with Dr Mark about his typical working day On-base, the type of patients he treats, the bases he has worked across Australia and how HCA Defence has supported him in his role.

HCA Defence: Tell us about your typical working day?

Dr Mark Norman: My typical work day starts at 7.30am On-base. Generally, there is a sick parade where Defence Personnel presents with acute problems in the morning. All the patients are screened by either Registered Nurses and Medics and those who need review are seen by the next available MO. There is a lot of team work and people learn to rely on and work closely together in an integrated way. The types of cases can be predominantly clinically focused and sometimes admin focused, however mostly it is a mix based on understanding the effect of the clinical condition on the operational functionality of the Defence member. The system provides time for patient-free administration, time to review results and recall patients. Whilst it can get very busy, the day is very well organised by the support administration staff.

HCA Defence: Tell us about your patients and the kinds of care you provide? Is it very different to Off-base patients?

Dr Mark Norman: I usually treat between 15-20 patients a day, counting sick parade patients which is generally fewer patients per day compared to Private Practice. The sessions are usually longer and you can take the time to do good medicine. The type of work I concentrate on is Muscular-Skeletal Injuries, Psychiatry and General Practice. Generally, Military MO’s work closely with the Physiotherapists and Mental Health Professionals who offer outstanding professional support. Depending on the base you get to finish early between 3.30 – 4 pm, which is great so I can go home to my family.

HCA Defence: Can you tell us about the different locations you’ve worked at?

Dr Mark Norman: I have worked in Brisbane, Amberley, Enoggera, Townsville (Aviation Medicine), Robertson and Stirling (Underwater Medicine), Edinburgh, North and South Queensland, Darwin, Perth, South Australia and Cairns – there are fantastic opportunities for travel within Australia even as a contractor. It’s exciting to be able to travel, experience new places and to deal with the challenges that different facilities are faced with.

HCA Defence: How do you feel HCA Defence supports you in your role?

Dr Mark Norman: Working as a MO is a hands-on role and I am well supported by my team and management to allow me to concentrate on providing quality medical care. I am extremely lucky to have these people around me and to work for HCA Defence.

To hear the fourth and final part of the interview with Dr Mark Norman, look out for it in next month’s blog. Dr Mark talks to us about the challenges he faces working On-base, the most rewarding part of his job and offers some advice to new recruits who are considering working On-base at Australian Defence Force Healthcare Centres in the future.

If you would like to work On-base at an ADF Healthcare Centre, register here (don’t forget to click Defence on the drop down menu) or email defence@healthcareaustralia.com.au.