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Emergency medicine a bonus for outback GP
For Dr Rachael Yin Foo, the Queensland outback town of Winton offers a fantastic opportunity not only to undertake GP training but also, to build further skills in emergency medicine.
“One of the biggest benefits of working in Winton is its’ remoteness. It means I get to use my emergency medicine skills and also learn so much more,” said Rachael.
“There’s a small community hospital that I’m keen to be involved with. Combined with the GP clinics in Winton, Longreach and Barcaldine, I should be able to experience a really wide spectrum of medicine.”
Rachael has already completed 12 months of Advanced Skills Training in emergency medicine at Bundaberg Base Hospital with the aim of taking these skills into rural and remote medicine, including as a rural GP. It was while doing rural placements as a medical student that Rachael saw first-hand the value of rural doctors having these skills.
“One experience I had as a student was when I was based in a remote clinic near Broken Hill in far west NSW. There was a truck accident patient who needed to be flown out and fortunately, the local GP in town had the skills to manage the patient until then.”
According to Rachael, another bonus of choosing to develop her medical career in a small community like Winton is the promise of a better work-life balance, especially when compared to what a career in emergency medicine can ordinarily offer.
“I like the lifestyle of working in a small community, both as a GP and being on-call for the hospital. It allows for a more realistic social life than what a career in emergency medicine usually gives you”.
“There is a frequent social calendar in Winton and it’s well linked-in with the other towns around it. There’s even an outback film festival held there.”
Another factor in Rachael’s decision to choose Winton and the Central West region for her GP training was the chance to work closely within a close-knit medical team.
“A benefit of training in a smaller rural environment is that you get to work closely with the senior clinicians and with your mentors. It is a much more personal and collegial experience. There is also the benefit of getting to know your patients and for them to get to know you.”
“The other big advantage of doing rural work is that there isn’t as much hierarchy in the medical team as what you get in larger towns. So there is more opportunity to step into roles that are usually left for the more senior consultants.”
“JCU’s GP training program is an excellent training opportunity and one that should serve me well later on in my career.”