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Leading by example

19th December 2018

Award-winning General Practitioners (GP), Dr Jack Maguire and Dr Denise Powell, divide their time between caring for patients and fostering a new cohort of high-calibre country GPs to eventually take their place.

Both doctors are Senior Fellows in James Cook University’s (JCU) GP training program, where they provide support to GPs who have chosen to help supervise and mentor registrars in rural and remote areas.

Veteran GP, Dr Maguire, who was named Townsville’s 2018 Citizen of the Year, has always considered teaching an important part of his professional life.

“I have spent 20 years in the public system, including time as a rural medical superintendent, and 30 years running a private practice,” he said. “Over the past 40 years, I have taught ambulance officers, nursing students, medical students, interns and GP registrars.”

He is passionate to be part of a training program that focuses on the central role that GP care plays in delivering better health outcomes for patients across Queensland, particularly those in rural and remote areas.

“During my time, I have seen General Practice become a recognised specialty in its own right,” he said. “The knowledge required to be a high-quality GP has now been developed into a formal training program which is world leading. It is an honour to be part of this dramatic change.”

Bundaberg-based Dr Powell, who received the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ top rural accolade in 2017, the Brian Williams Award, is keen to support GP supervisors, so they can better equip GP registrars to handle the “sink or swim experiences” she encountered as a trainee.

Both Dr Maguire and Dr Powell share a hands-on approach to their roles as Senior Fellows.

“The primary focus of my role is to provide support for GP supervisors and to act as a resource so they can better assist registrars in their path to the specialty that General Practice has become,” Dr Maguire said.

“I try to attend as many supervisor and medical educator workshops as possible. I also undertake ECT (External Clinic Teaching) visits, where I am able to see first-hand how grassroots training is taking place and the challenges that face registrars and supervisors on a daily basis.”

Dr Powell also attends supervisor workshops. Pastoral care is a major focus and she is committed to maintaining channels of communication.

“I am available by email or phone, but supervisors are such an independent, coping lot that they don’t want to bother you. Open invitation!” she said.

The GPs feel amply rewarded for their efforts. “I see locally trained GPs practicing at a very high standard and entering the workforce in north Queensland,” Dr Maguire said.

“I have been particularly proud of the IMGs (International Medical Graduates), who have come from diverse backgrounds to successfully transition to General Practice in Australia – many of whom have become role model supervisors themselves.”

For Dr Powell, it’s all about the energy. “Meeting passionate and committed GP supervisors and enthusiastic registrars everywhere,” she said simply.

Dr Denise Powell

Dr Jack Maguire

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Townsville QLD 4811