07 June 2018

Dr Sarah Goddard's inspiring GP journey leads her back home


GP registrar Dr Sarah Goddard is a Kaytetye woman who grew up in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. Sarah left to complete medical school in Newcastle and has now returned to country to complete her GP training with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

“I have wanted to be a rural GP since I was a child, spending lots of time at the hospital with family members and seeing the burden from chronic disease in the community. I thought the best way to benefit my community, is to train in the community,” Sarah said.

 I have always wanted to be the doctor everyone knows.  As their GP, I am the friendly face that calls them from the waiting room. I am the person who knows them and their families. I am the person who, once upon a time, served them at the checkout. And I am the person who can understand their concerns.

Growing up, Sarah’s grandmother and mother were strong influencers in her life. Her mother was a police officer who taught her to never give up - no matter what the challenges are - and her grandmother was an Aboriginal Health Worker who did a lot in the community to promote health. Sarah now feels privileged to be able to benefit the community and do her part in changing the health statistics between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. 

“I want to make an impact on people’s health care and educate the younger generations to come. I want to be a role model for others to follow, showing them anything is achievable if you’re willing to give it a go," she says.

Dr Goddard

Sarah has an unwavering passion for remote health and she cannot think of a better place to complete her GP training.

“Remote training is the best training. In remote locations, you’re not only the doctor but you’re a member of the community,” Sarah said.

"Tennant Creek is a place where you see real-life medicine that some would only see in textbooks. I am seeing patients with acute medical problems in the emergency department but also spending time in general practice. Tennant Creek is what rural and remote medicine is all about."

Dr Sarah Goddard with child patient

When asked about her biggest challenges, Sarah said the biggest challenge she faced is not always being able to save everyone.

"Not being able to prevent chronic disease is challenging. Not being able to make everything right is challenging. But I can try; I can try and educate my patients and the best way to do this is to be a rural GP. Change takes time, but the little steps in between are so rewarding."

Dr Sarah Goddard