Dr Rhiannon Baldwin is a general pathway registrar undertaking her GP training in the rural town of Young. Apart from the annual cherry festival, she is looking forward to clinical work and the opportunity to explore other areas of interest during her training.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I actually grew up in the Murrumbidgee & ACT subregion, in a small town called Wee Jasper, before moving to Canberra for High school. I completed my undergraduate degree at University of Canberra before moving to Geelong to study medicine and start work at Barwon Health where I have been for the last few years.
I’ve loved living in towns where I have always known my neighbours, spent my weekends going for drives to local wineries, or road trips to explore the surrounding towns with friends.
Why did you decide to become a GP?
I think a lot of the reason was that I see myself as a bit of a ‘Jack of all trades’. As a medical registrar I always loved the variety of presentations and problems. I enjoy the detective work of looking at a patient, their family and life from all angles and trying to find the best approach to not only achieve the best for them, in a health care capacity, but also finding ways to approach preventative medicine including mental health, function and quality of life. I feel that I could continue to make a significant difference with the resources afforded to me in the community.
What are you looking forward to about starting in your GP community-based training?
As mentioned, I’m looking forward to seeing my cohort of patients on a regular basis and being able to make a real difference to their health but also lives. I think there’s so much more to being a doctor than looking at medical presentations at face value and I’m looking forward to the autonomy of decision making, learning from some amazing and hugely experienced rural GPs at the practice, and just generally getting my hands dirty and learning a huge array of new skills!
What do you think might be some of the challenges?
I think one of the big challenges initially will be the transition from hospital based thinking to a community outpatient approach to medicine and healthcare. In the hospital you often have the luxury of resources and specialists at your fingertips as well as time to mull things over. I think initially the volume and uncertainty of presentations with quick turn over will be difficult but I think that I will have ample support with huge and enduring range of expertise from my colleagues at the Young District Medical Centre.
As for resources, it will be a matter for getting a feel for the region and the pathways to get things done, thinking outside the box and considering the impact of sending patients for tests or specialist treatments which cound be hundreds of kilometres away!
Why did you decide to train in Murrumbidgee & ACT and Young in particular?
One of the main regions for specifically coming back to the ACT region was to be closer to family who reside in Canberra.
I think I always knew that I would come back to this region at some stage and this felt like the right time. Its been quite nostalgic coming back to work in the Murrumbidgee district, in some ways its so familiar it’s like I never left. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work and train here. Why Young specifically? I think I was excited about not only working at the GP practice but also being able to continue to do some work at the local hospital and rehab/palliative care unit which is in keeping with a lot of my previous experience.
What do you like about living in Young?
I’d have to say the best part about the town so far are the people. The staff at Young District Medical Centre and the hospital have been incredibly welcoming and friendly….its been great to get to know some of the patients already who have been extremely kind while I learn the ropes.
I have to admit, maybe cliché, but I’m hanging out until the end of the year to get involved with all of the events occurring during their renowned cherry season! I enjoy baking so I’m sure my family will be cherry-ed out before the new year!
What are your long-term career plans (if you know yet!)?
At this stage I’ve probably only got as far as wanting to continue to work as serve as a GP in the Murrumbidgee/ACT region. I think I’ve always known that I prefer the lifestyle of smaller cities and towns. I’d like to continue to work somewhere where I could really contribute to the town or region. I haven’t yet settled on a particular domain in specialist or extended skills but I think this year will give me all the exposure and opportunity to find out more about my particular interests. One of the great things about GP training is the opportunity to not only work in clinical practice but also education, policy, hospital work or other unique areas of interest.
Learn more about the Murrumbidgee & ACT subregion.