Well-known and respected Yarrawonga GP Clyde Ronan has recently been awarded the Outstanding Rural GP award along with a Length of Service award for 35 years at the Rural Doctors Conference in recognition of a long and dedicated career in rural medicine.
The length of service award is presented to general practitioners and medical specialists who have served rural and regional Victoria for over 35 years, recognising their extensive commitment to providing health services, often to many generations of the same family and their continued involvement in the community.
The second of Dr Ronan’s awards, the Rural Doctor award has two subcategories: Outstanding Contribution and New Rural Doctor.
The first recognises general practitioners and medical specialists who have shown professional and personal commitment to regional and rural communities, often going above and beyond with services and involvement in the community.
The second category recognises doctors who are establishing their careers in rural health and have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to their profession and community.
Dr Ronan was born and raised in Tallangatta before he moved to study and graduated MBBS at Monash University in 1977.
After his graduation Dr Ronan spent five years of postgraduate training in hospitals and general practice, notably in Hopetoun and leading ultimately to diplomas in Anaesthetics and Obstetrics.
“I commenced procedural rural general practice in Yarrawonga in 1983 and am still there. Anaesthetics appointments included Cobram, Tocumwal, Finley, Berrigan, as well as Yarrawonga but obstetrics at Yarrawonga only,” Dr Ronan said.
“I retired from both of these procedural disciplines in 2017 at age 65 but picked up increased activity in advanced skin cancer surgery.
“I am still doing general practice, supervision and education of interns, registrars and anyone who will listen.
“My family came from Ireland and Scotland and I was supposed to be a fifth generation farmer but lost my way. In recent times I have partly returned to that destiny.”
Meryl Jerome, Management Consultant at the Yarrawonga Medical Clinic and Dr Margi Gould, medical educator, nominated Dr Ronan for the awards and said he was very deserving and goes out of his way to assist.
“Dr Ronan has gone above and beyond in his work life and outside of the doctor’s surgery,” Dr Gould said.
“He doesn’t just do medical things, he assists in the community too and is very well respected.
“The outstanding rural GP award also recognises the practice and additional staff as well as Dr Ronan which is a great achievement for the Yarrawonga Medical Clinic and Yarrawonga as a whole.”
Many in town know of or have been assisted by Dr Ronan whether that be in the Yarrawonga Medical Clinic or in his community work, but certain aspects of the job have always been a highlight.
“Delivering babies has been a highlight of my career- not great numbers, not with any superior skill- but to get the baby out, hold its wet slippery little body, and say “welcome to the world little one” is an extraordinary experience that never diminished,” Dr Ronan said.
“Being the Yarrawonga Football Club doctor for many years was pretty good - getting into the change rooms easily or watching the game from the coaches box, assessing acute trauma under rudimentary conditions and suturing bleeding wounds in the change rooms at 3/4 time to get the players back on was exciting.
“The most surgical suturing packs used in one game was four. Being part of premiership teams, and afternoon tea with the legends of yesteryear was also memorable.”
Although having a long and illustrious career Dr Ronan couldn’t have done it without his family and the community he now calls home, Yarrawonga.
“My family and the community have allowed me to practice fully and most patients seem to value my care,” Dr Ronan said.
“As I get older and do less my patients seem to value me more, and this is reciprocated.
“I’m so useless at so many things at home that without my family it would all be a bit of a mess, and there wouldn’t be much point.
“I do love them all, especially our new babies. My career and life has had a purpose and it continues. I have no concrete plans to retire, just a long transition. Ask me next week.”