Dr Sheahan’s story – our aligned ethos

Dr Sheahan Ranasinghe

Ochre Health was founded in 2002, with the goal of providing quality healthcare that put patients and team members at the heart of the organisation. Today, Ochre is the largest network for general practice in Australia, and while it may have grown, this enduring passion for people hasn’t changed. This ethos resonated with Dr Sheahan Ranasinghe, who joined Ochre ten years ago to run a very small hospital in Nelson Bay. Dr Sheahan has moved with Ochre as his family and the Ochre family have both expanded, however, the constants have kept him loyal. Here, he tells us a bit more about why…

Growing with the Ochre family

Over my ten years with Ochre, the organisation has grown but we continue to offer what I believe is the highest standard of patient care. It’s this quality that makes Ochre a special place to work – and it exists at every Ochre clinic across the country.  Being part of a connected network has meant that my family and I were able to easily move from Nelson Bay to Canberra for better education options for my son. The ability to move to a bigger city within the same network, has been advantageous for both my wife and I, as the underlying values and culture are the same wherever you go. I’ve grown professionally too, and Ochre has always been incredibly supportive of that. Hamish and Dermot from our management team are passionate about the company ethos, and our opportunities for professional development reflect this. We’re given the time, opportunity, and moral support to learn both from within our network and externally.

Valuing life outside of work

It’s apparent that Ochre is an organisation that values life outside of work and supports family time. Many of our doctors work part-time, and having that choice is a big drawcard in what can traditionally be a demanding role. My partner and I work at the same practice, so we fit our hours in around our son’s schooling. Kids grow up so quickly, so having that time together really is priceless. The flexibility and security to move from Nelson Bay to Canberra, was also a great support for me and my family.

Patient-centred care

We take a personal approach and practice true family medicine, and that’s what makes Ochre different. It’s not about numbers through the door, we’re encouraged to take the time we need with each patient so that we can provide them with the best medical outcomes. We become an extension of their family, have a deeper connection, and they trust us. This is so important when treating the patient as a whole – understanding what is going on in their lives and how this can be impacting on them medically.  The community gets to know us too, as they see what we’re doing is making a difference. When I was in Nelson Bay, I literally couldn’t go shopping without getting stopped; and once a patient even bought me in a whole wild boar! While I haven’t been bought any wild boar in Canberra, the community feel is still very strong. I see generations of families here, caring for the mum during her pregnancy and then caring for the child. They really put their lives in our hands. It’s this sense of community that is so fulfilling, and it’s something that is often lost in large corporates.

A supportive and connected team

Every single member of our team has an equal voice at Ochre and the hands-on support from higher management is huge. We all feel a sense of equality and equity in the practice, and our patients can feel that. From the moment they walk in the door, to well after they leave, we’re all working together to make a difference in their lives.

At Ochre I do believe we are able to live life to the fullest. If you’re happy with the team you work with, have a fulfilling role and a good work-life balance, there’s not much else you can ask for. As the Roman philosopher, Seneca said “we are not given a short life, life is long if you know how to use it” – and Ochre allows me to do just that.

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