07 June 2018

Dr Sarah Goddard's inspiring GP journey 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.

“I have wanted to be a rural GP since I was a child, spending lots of time at 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” said Sarah.

 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, 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 Australian's. 

“I want to make an impact to 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.

Sarah has this 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.”

"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 about."

When asked about her biggest challenges, Sarah replied “the biggest challenge I face is not always being able to save everyone. Not being able to prevent chronic disease. Not being able to make everything right. 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 Goddard

Dr Sarah Goddard with child patient

Dr Sarah Goddard