Dr Amy Derrick is enjoying the opportunity to train in the Western NSW town of Cowra as a stepping stone to a life as a rural GP.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up on the family farm at Mimosa. Not too far away from Cowra where I’m now training, it’s between Temora and Coolamon. Mum and dad together with my older brother and older sister still run the farm today. I was really lucky to grow up in the country and had a really idyllic childhood; riding my bike down the back lane to visit my cousins or grandparents and going for laps in the tractor with dad. I loved school and playing sport.
My nan who was a long-time nurse in Temora, instilled in me a love of medicine and she was very much admired in the community. It’s because of her that I decided to pursue medicine as a career. Two degrees later (Bachelor or Medical Science at UNSW and Doctor of Medicine at UQ), with a year off in-between to governess on a station and here I am!
Why did you decide to become a GP, and a rural GP in particular?
I fell in love with a farmer, but was always coming back to the country to be a GP regardless. Clinically, it’s a great mix of acute and chronic patients. To be able to treat patients through the stable periods of their chronic conditions and then also treat them when acutely unwell is a great privilege. That level of continuity of care is difficult to find outside of rural GP, and I’ve seen first-hand what a difference it makes. I also think that rural people (like my family) deserve great healthcare.
What are you looking forward to about starting in your GP community-based training?
I’m looking forward to a number of things; but to be honest I’m mostly looking forward to the people. Country people would give you the shirt off their back with no qualms; and being able to give back a little by providing a medical service is rewarding.
What do you think might be some of the challenges?
Ooh lots. Everything is a challenge when you first begin a new job and I think the transition from larger hospital system to GP clinic/smaller hospital is especially challenging. The independent consulting would probably have to be the most challenging to begin with but the trick is to pick a location with lots of knowledgeable and available supervisors that you can ask for help.
Why did you decide to train in Western NSW and Cowra in particular?
My partner’s farm is in-between Walgett and Collarenebri – hence Western NSW. And the practice at Cowra has a number of fantastic supervisors and a great reputation so it was a no-brainer!
What do you like about the region/Cowra?
It’s early days and I’m still settling in but Cowra has a great vibe. It’s a bustling small country town nestled in some great scenery with some great cafés and shops.
What are your long-term career plans?
I’m hoping to make a lateral transition into rural generalism to complete some extra training in emergency medicine before heading back to Walgett for good.
If you would like to know more about GP training opportunities in Western NSW, head to our Western NSW webpages and guide.