Dr Aliza Lord is training as a rural generalist in the outback city of Broken Hill. She chose advanced skills in emergency medicine as she wanted to challenge herself and the additional skills are complimentary to rural general practice.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Where I’m from becomes a complicated question these days, as I’ve moved around a lot. I grew up in Dubbo and then I did the last four years of my undergraduate degree in Canberra. Then I started with the University of Wollongong, and like most people, moved around a fair bit throughout my medical degree, which ultimately led me to Broken Hill.
I came out here as a student and aside from a few trips away for various different rotations to Sydney and my AST in Wagga Wagga, I’ve more or less been in Broken Hill since then.
Why did you decide to become a GP, and a rural generalist in particular?
The most influential thing for me to take up rural medicine was going to Broken Hill as a medical student when I was in third year. I met my husband at that time, a farmer in Broken Hill so Broken Hill is now my home.
Staying in Broken Hill sort of limited the options in terms of what you can do with training. GP is a good fit for the location where I want to be. But I didn’t want to just do general practice I knew that I wanted to challenge myself a little bit. That’s why I chose to go through ACRRM and the rural generalist pathway with emergency medicine skills.
Why did you choose emergency medicine?
In emergency medicine you see such a wide range of presentations, from a major trauma from a seriously sick septic patient down to a child with a rash. In both GP and emergency you need that wide skill set to give you the tools to manage most things that come in. The emergency skills are really complimentary in general practice.
What are you liking most about community-based training?
The highlight is that I’m really enjoying having continuity of care and ongoing relationships with patients. It’s a bit different to hospital – sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse. But, yes you get to know people over time.
I actually enjoy that aspect of really being part of the community. The people are the most enjoyable part of the job. I love meeting them and hearing their stories. The rural people are so grateful and appreciative of what we can offer even if it is less than what people get in big city hospitals. I can safely say that because I’ve done some terms in city hospitals.
What do you like most about living and working in Broken Hill?
I definitely like the lifestyle in Broken Hill. I live out on a sheep and cattle station. It’s a drive to and from work, but actually that’s what I enjoy about it – physical distance between work and home life. It’s pretty peaceful, we’re 40 km from town.
What are your long-term career plans?
I absolutely plan to stay in Broken Hill. My husband is a farmer so it doesn’t make us very mobile!
If you’re interested in procedural/rural generalist training you can find more information here.