Barbara McNicol chatted with us shortly after retiring from a long and rewarding career at Eaglehawk Medical Group.

What was your role at EMG?
I was the practice manager. I took care of the staff and rostering, purchasing for the practice, accounting or book keeping, management of patents in and out of the practice. Just the all the day to day business side of the practice.

When did you start your job?
That was a long time age! 1996. 23 years ago.

What inspired you to start?
I liked the style of practice there, it is a nice practice. It is not a corporate practice it is owned by the doctors who work there so we look after patients on a long term basis. Not just a one off basis, so I loved the idea of getting to know the patients who we saw really well.

What was the best thing about your job?
I think the best part was that you do get to know your patients that well. So in the time I had been there there were 3 generations of patients coming through. So it is long term, where you see people grow and develop. You don’t see them quickly in and out, they come in and you can watch them get better and go back to their lives. You get to see how well their health goes. So it is a good long term management type thing.

Why did you retire?
Because I’m really old! I still loved what I was doing. I retired because it was about time to give someone else a chance to enjoy the job as much as I have and there are aspects to the job where a younger person can bring more to it, in things that I don’t necessarily have a lot of experience in. So it was good to hand that on to a young person to see the practice grow and develop and keep moving forward.

What do you look forward to doing in your retirement?
The first thing was cleaning out my pantry! That was great! My husband and I plan to do some traveling. I think, catching up on all the things you don’t always have time to do when you are a working parents so there are things that you don’t have time to do and long term things like photo albums from when the children were little that need putting together. Just taking life a little easier.

Has the place changed much?
Everything was paper when I first started the appointment books, all the billing and everything was paper. Then of course, computers came along. Then that just developed quickly, all of the procedures now are electronic. Lots of great processes are in place for long term health care for patients these days. I think that health care has developed a lot.

Have you seen a lot of doctors come and go in that time?
There are 4 doctors who are still there who started the practice. There were 5, one doctor has left in that time and been replaced. The doctors that usually work there become an associate. In the 23 years I was there only 2 doctors have been replaced. The good thing is that all of the doctors have continued to develop professionally and very strongly so that they are very up to date with everything. EMG is an accredited practice, we were one of the first practices in Australia to become accredited when that first came in, in 1997 or 1998. They are now in our 7th round of accreditation. So they keep on top of everything so the practice is always offering the best services available. I think when people have children of their own they want to have a doctor that they know well.

When you were younger did you know that you were going to work in this job area?
No I didn’t. I always liked figures and maths. I always thought that I was going to go into purely some kind of accountancy. I ended up in an office elsewhere. I then just developed into the medical side of things as I changed jobs earlier in my life. Not where I thought I was going to be, but very rewarding in the long run. There is just something really nice about being able to help people.


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