After working as a physiotherapist in the UK, Dr James Marshall retrained with the aim of becoming a rural GP, he is now a GP registrar in rural NSW.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up on a farm near Black Mountain just north of Armidale, so not far from where I’m now training in Manilla (about 160 km west of Armidale).
I originally studied and worked as a physiotherapist and ergonomist, most recently working in the UK helping run an international health risk management program.
After that, I retrained as a doctor with a view to returning to the country to become a rural GP.
Why did you decide to become a GP?
In Australia we have a good primary health care model, which means GPs are one of the main gateways to our health care system, bringing with it great opportunity to help influence health outcomes.
I am really interested in health promotion, that is prevention first, and secondly good early reactive, evidence-based medicine to help influence people’s health and well-being.
Would you recommend training in a rural area?
I think working rurally is a great experience for doctors in training, as you develop such diverse skills which are so useful to the whole community.
As a relatively junior doctor in the country you get early exposure to working independently and utilising procedural skills which help you develop professionally.
Further, rural communities are very welcoming and supportive, and they are really appreciative of the service you offer, so it is rewarding as you feel you are contributing to something worthwhile.
Are you enjoying GP training?
I’m enjoying training as a rural GP. It’s nice to have a bit more time with patients, and autonomy to work on health promotion.
The on-call at the hospital is challenging, largely because you work more independently, but there is always someone to call for support, and it’s rewarding too.