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GP registrar’s supporting each-other throughout their training

23rd October 2017

Dr Peter Neeskens is a third-year general practice registrar with James Cook University’s (JCU) General Practice Training program.

Dr Neeskens is one of JCU’s six Registrar Liaison Officer’s - registrars who advocate on behalf of other registrars during their training and who serve as a confidential contact for registrars wishing to discuss training or resolve issues.

Registrar Liaison Officers also play an important role in keeping JCU abreast of local and national registrar issues, represent JCU and their registrar peers on a number local and national committees including General Practice Registrars Australia, are represented on the JCU General Practice Training Strategic Leadership Council, and actively contribute to the JCU education program.

Dr Neeskens said he jumped at the opportunity to take on the role as a way to support fellow registrars while expanding his own skills and knowledge.

”There was a presentation by one of JCU’s Registrar Liaison Officer’s at my first training workshop which was very engaging,” he said from his current training post at the Sarina Hospital in the Mackay region, where he is a Senior Medical Officer.

“I had only recently started training in the GP registrar community within JCU but I’ve had a lot of experience in similar roles throughout my medical career so felt I had skills to offer that would be useful.”

Dr Neeskens said one of the most rewarding parts about being a Registrar Liaison Officer is having the chance to mentor junior doctors and medical students.

“I want to make sure that they get through their first rural rotation with a positive experience.

“I was in their shoes two or three years ago so, I can relate very well and I try to help them through any difficulties they are having. In my experience, most leave their rural rotation having loved it and wanting more.”

Dr Neeskens aims to provide the same support that he benefited from in his own career.

“I was an intern at Proserpine Hospital for six months and I still rate that rotation as one of my best training experiences to date.

“The doctors at Proserpine were supportive, excellent teachers and great role models. I was impressed how they all seemed to possess endless fountains of knowledge and their diverse range of skills when I came to patient care was enviable, to say the least.

“That’s what I want to and try to emulate as a training registrar as well as a supervisor,” he said.

Dr Neeskens says he enjoys his work at the Sarina Hospital.

“Being a Senior Medical Officer means you’re taking more of a leadership and senior decision-making role within the hospital. It’s been a big step up and I’m really enjoying it.”

“I also now have formal responsibilities supervising and training junior doctors and medical students which is great.”

Dr Neeskens says he and his Registrar Liaison Officer colleagues on the National General Practice Registrars Australia Advisory Council have opportunities to discuss issues and policies through relationships with the Department of Health, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and Australia College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

“We provide input on policy development as well as highlight new developments within GP training which help develop policies and position statements on issues such as rural GP training, registrar selection and placement, the program regulations and in particular the National Terms and Conditions for the Employment of Registrars.

“I love having the opportunity to contribute to those discussions.”

Dr Neeskens is on track to fellow with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine in 2019.

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Townsville QLD 4811