As the first registrar in NSW to train in a post accredited to offer advanced specialised training in child and adolescent health, Dr Erica Watson is looking forward to being a procedural GP and reducing some of the burden that rural families with unwell children often face in having to travel to seek treatment.
Why did you decide to become a rural GP?
While training in the hospital I kept doing different terms – and I liked everything – I knew at one stage I would have to choose but I didn’t think I would be able to do it. I realised general practice offered all the different options.
I grew up in the Carribean and after moving to Australia I worked in Brisbane and Mt Isa – while at Mt Isa I feel in love with working in small rural communities and decided that’s where I wanted to work.
I came to Orange for work and my partner and I fell in love with Orange so decided to stay here for training.
Hospitals in the surrounding areas (like Parkes and Cowra) have opportunities for upskilled GPs and that’s the sort of general practice I want to be involved in.
What attracted you to undertake the paediatrics post?
Peadiatrics is an area that as a GP you see a lot of, about 30% of a GP’s time is spent working with kids. Undertaking the post has provided more experience that I can apply in general practice – it’s a valuable skill, particularly in more rural areas.
I wanted to do the post before it was accredited. When I started the post I had no idea it would be the first accredited post in NSW. I had done obstetrics and I wanted the experience of an extra hospital year in paediatrics, I was going to jump out of GP training to do the post – but it’s turned out I didn’t have too.
What’s it like working at the Orange Health Service?
There is an amazing team at Orange Health Service, they’re very supportive and it’s a nice environment. I’m also working with advanced trainees, so while they all have their different niches we’re all working in the same area.
The team make time to teach so it’s great.
Orange is a well serviced regional centre – so it’s a really good place to work.
What advice would you offer to a GP registrar thinking of becoming a GP proceduralist?
Working in a hospital gives you confidence to work alone in a rural community, having done procedures under supervision, gives you the confidence that now I can do it in in real life.
You don’t get that exposure if you don’t work in a rural hospital!