Interview with Dr Michael Hayes – Medical Officer On-base at the ADF

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We caught up with Dr Michael Hayes, Medical Officer (MO) On-base at the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Enoggera, Queensland (QLD). Michael talks about his career as a General Practitioner (GP), working On-base at the ADF with HCA, the most rewarding part of the job and his recommendations to other healthcare professionals looking for a career change.

Maria: Thanks for your time today Michael. Can you tell us how you started your career as a GP?

Dr Michael Hayes: After I graduated I spend a few years as a generic junior doctor in the hospital system, then another 3 years training as a GP. After I qualified as a GP I worked in a semi-rural area and then moved onto the MO position On-base in Enoggera.

Maria: How did you find the transition from working in a GP Clinic to On-base at the ADF?

Dr Michael Hayes: The working environment is different, as it’s a subset of general practice and the defence system has a specific set of rules that must be followed. You are treating military members to ensure their health is at optimum level with medical exams every 2 -5 years. Besides this, it’s quite like General Practice dealing with the day-to-day sick parade of people with acute problems and sporting injuries.

Maria: What is the best part of working On-base?

Dr Michael Hayes: Spending time with all the healthcare professionals, including nurses, army medics, physios and exercise therapists. It’s a great team culture and you really feel like a valued part of the team working together to achieve the same goal. Working On-base is an excellent work-life balance, so I get to spend precious time with my family.

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

Dr Michael Hayes: I have great support from the HCA team, I can take paid time off for holidays with the family and I can talk to HCA about any issues I’m facing. Working On-base means I don’t have worry about the admin side of running a practice and I can focus on my medical work.

Maria: What is the most rewarding part of working On-base?

Dr Michael Hayes: Helping ADF members overcome physical or mental issues they face and becoming the central support network for ADF members who may not have friends or family close by. I also get to spend a lot of time with each patient and understand their needs and requirements as they progress in their own career. Overall, I enjoy being part of the military team as it really does feel like a family unit.

Maria: Would you recommend HCA to other healthcare professionals? 

Dr Michael Hayes: I would recommend working On-base to other GPs, nurses and healthcare staff. I have enjoyed the experience and I felt like it was the perfect cultural fit for me.

If you’re considering a career change in the healthcare industry and are considering working On-base at the ADF, register your interest and we’ll be in touch to discuss roles available and suitable for your needs.