Dr Madeline Wilson grew up in Sydney but a taste of rural general practice during medical school convinced her that being a rural GP was for her. The breadth of clinical work and being an integral part of the community are just part of the attraction to training in Western NSW.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in Sydney as the eldest of four kids and I am the first doctor in my family. I went straight to uni after high school and attended UNE in Armidale, which was a big lifestyle change for a young Sydney girl! I loved rural medicine during my degree, but chose to return to Sydney to be close to family once I started working. I’m excited to have the opportunity now to get back to rural medicine and the rural lifestyle.
Why did you decide to become a GP, and a rural GP in particular?
I think my interest in being a rural GP stems from my first years of medical school – I went to uni in Armidale and most of our early tutors were rural GPs. I liked the way of life and the breadth of clinical work they did, but I was also particularly drawn to how they were so involved in the community they lived and worked in. I enjoyed all of my rotations as a junior doctor, and after loving various vastly different specialty terms I realised that general practice would be able to cover so many of those things, plus give me the chance for long term doctor-patient relationships and continuity of care.
What are you looking forward to about starting in your GP community-based training?
I’m looking forward to meeting patients and hearing their stories. I’m looking forward to belonging to the same community that my patients belong to and being able to involve that in my practice. I’m intrigued by the wide spread of clinical presentations in general practice and seeing things in rural medicine that might otherwise present earlier or to the hospitals in urban areas.
What do you think might be some of the challenges?
Starting in general practice has been a steep learning curve, with a big step up in clinical responsibility from working as a junior doctor in the hospital system. I think I’ll also find it challenging to be involved in patients’ lives and continue caring for them through chronic disease and difficult life events – a continuity of relationship with patients that we haven’t been able to experience in the hospital system so far.
Why did you decide to train in Western NSW and Orange in particular?
I wanted to return to rural medicine for GP training, and chose Western NSW as an area that I didn’t know much about and hadn’t spent much time in. I had spent most of my university training in the New England area, but had a short placement in Orange which I loved. The vibrant life of the town, with the fantastic food and drink scene was a big feature that appealed to me and drew me back to this area. It is also quite accessible for me to return home to Sydney to see family, or have friends visit on weekends. And despite many warnings from locals I’m looking forward to the cold winters!
What do you like about training in Orange?
Orange has been a very welcoming town so far, many patients have asked me where I’m from and welcomed me to their town! I look forward to visiting the restaurants and some wineries, and exploring nearby parks and walks that can be done. There seem to be lots of local sporting activities which I’m also looking forward to getting involved in. Once I’m more settled in I’d also like to explore the smaller towns around the region too.
What are your long-term career plans?
I would like to be a rural GP! I’m open to moving around and experiencing different and more rural towns as I progress in my career, although I quite like the lifestyle of large regional centres like Orange and hope to settle either here or somewhere similar in the long run. Once I’ve finished training, I’d also like to develop further skills in an area of interest such as women’s health, to be able to provide a valuable service to give back to my community.
Explore the training opportunities available in Western NSW.