Although she has plans return to Canberra, Claire Monaghan wanted to get some rural experience early in her GP training. Based on her friend’s recommendation, she sought out the Murrumbidgee town of Temora. Although COVID-19 hit within a month of her arrival, she has decided to extend her training in Temora by another six months. She tells us why.
I grew up in Cooma, which is about an hour south of Canberra in the Snowy Mountains. Then I was accepted into medical science at UNSW. I spent my fifth and sixth year of medical school in Albury at their rural clinical school. Then I did my internship and residency at Liverpool Hospital.
I wanted to do some training in a more rural town before going back to the Canberra region for the rest of my training. I applied for Temora because I’d heard of this practice from a friend who had done her John Flynn placement here. She spoke very highly of Temora and of the practice. I decided to apply for Temora, and it was just going to be a six-month placement.
I’ve enjoyed it so much, and I think after six months, I’ve just been getting the hang of things. I thought six months on top of that, to consolidate what I’ve learned would be really beneficial.
Everyone has been very welcoming, I’ve felt very much at home in Temora since I’ve arrived, which has been really lovely.
What I have enjoyed the most about rural general practice is the scope of what you see. There’s a lot of things in rural general practice that it’s up to the GPs to manage to a certain extent, without specialist input. Obviously, we do have the support of Wagga Wagga, just an hour down the road.
If anyone does need referral to Wagga Wagga that is easy to organize. But there’s a certain amount of things that you do here that we are expected to manage on our own, which is very rewarding. It challenges you to really expand your skill set and to offer as many services as you can for people just so that they can have care undertaken at home and not have to travel an hour down the road to have a basic procedure done.
I am thinking of doing procedural GP; I am getting a lot of exposure at the moment to doing skin excisions and I’m really enjoying those as well as getting a lot of procedures because we do VMO work at the hospital as well.
It’s been an interesting time because I arrived in Temora and then about a month later the COVID-19 restrictions started coming in and everything started closing. I’ve made the most of it, there’s a lake just outside of town called Lake Centenary. I’ve been going for walks and runs around the lake and that’s been really nice.
I’ve bought a bike, a road bike, so I’ve been doing some cycling along the roads around Temora; really beautiful scenery along some of those back roads.
We’ve been doing very little telehealth. Initially, when things were really ramping up with COVID, there was a lot of telehealth that was done. That kind of fizzled out. Most people just decided to come in in person and they know that if they’ve got any kind of cold symptoms, they call. People have been really good, but we certainly haven’t had any shortage of people coming in to see us.
Temora is probably one of the best places to be with zero cases. Everyone is really doing their part, which is really nice, being in a town where you know that there’s no cases yet it’s been really good.
If you would like to know more about training in Murrumbidgee & ACT, rural towns in the subregion and the training posts available head to our Murrumbidgee & ACT webpage.