Riana was born in Delareyville, South Africa, where she grew up in a rural community. During her school years the family moved to Boksburg, and she continued with her tertiary education at The University of Pretoria. It was during this time she met her future husband, Thinus. She qualified in June 1995.
Her Intern year was spent at the Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital as well as the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth. This exposed her to a wide variety of pathology, injuries and surgery, as well as gave her an opportunity to be part of the Burns Unit and Premature Unit. She worked with the Paediatric Department for 6 months after completing the Internship. During this time it became important to have “Family Friendly Hours” and this led to her doing part time General Practice at the Westering Medicross Centre, Port Elizabeth.
Due to the need for further study for her husband in a surgical registrar position , they returned to Pretoria where she worked part time at the Family Medicine Department at the Pretoria Academic Hospital. Following this she started her own General Practice at the Winmore Village complex in Moreletta Park , Pretoria. Being a new practice, these were hard times. Her GP partner and husband, Thinus, initially did locums to support the business, until it could support 2 full time GPs.
This unfortunately never realised. The solo practice got off the ground, just as Thinus’ long term locum in Mozambique on the Mozal project picked up momentum. This project was a joint venture between Australia, Japan and Billiton. At peak there were 10-12 000 people on site. Due to the distance apart, Riana decided to rather join her husband in Mozambique, and started in the position of site doctor together with 2 other doctors. The main areas of experience were in the fields of Malaria, trauma and international logistics between South Africa and Mozambique on evacuating seriously ill ex-pat patients back to South Africa. As the contract was drawing to a close after 2 years, an exciting offer was made via the internet by Dr Brian Symon, head of Recruit-A-Doc in Australia.
Riana and her husband started in Booleroo Centre as GP’s in May 2000. They ran the GP practice, outreach Clinics to Wilmington, Wirrabara and Melrose, the Mt View Aged Care Home, as well as being on call 24/7 for the Booleroo Centre District Hospital. Riana especially enjoyed getting to know the older people in the district, which included a handful of War Veterans. The practice also went through the full AGPAL Accreditation process, and Riana passed the Fellowship of the College of General Practitioners successfully.
In 2003, it was a fresh start in Wagga Wagga, with especially one child needing physiotherapy regularly and trips to the Westmead Children’s Hospital. Riana started at the Baylis Street Medical Practice and enjoyed the time spent there greatly. The doctors in the practice were from different cultures, the staff all supportive and helpful Australians, setting the atmosphere of team spirit, and greatly tuned to help people who presented as patients from different walks of life. This was a fully Accredited Practice.
Another fresh start followed in January 2004, when her husband took up a position at the Calvary Emergency Department in Canberra. The children started in their new school, as Riana was starting in a new position as CMO (Career Medical Officer) at the Emergency Department at Calvary Hospital. This was a position with lots of opportunities to learn new skills, and also teaching more junior doctors. Riana stayed in this position until the time of the opening of the Tillyard Drive Medical Practice , a joint practice with her husband, Thinus.
Riana is fluent in English and Afrikaans, can understand Dutch and some German, and can speak limited Portuguese, Sotho, Zulu and Xhosa.
Her main areas of interest are paediatrics, geriatrics, women’s health and mental health.