Dr Domonic Manassa made the move from the big smoke to train as a GP in Cooma just over a year ago; he likes it so much he and his wife have recently bought a house and intend to stay. One of his supervisors, Dr Andrew Egan, is a longstanding procedural GP who has been supervising GP registrars for more than 28 years.
Dr Manassa: I was working at Liverpool Hospital, and in my second year I decided it wasn’t for me; I didn’t like either the city life or the lack of patient continuity of care. I wanted to be involved in community-based health. I liked the breadth of experience gained in a rural setting while still working in a hospital setting, and Cooma offered that.
I was born and raised in Sydney. When I was young I moved to Cooma with my family – my family had a corner store in town in the early to mid-1990s. After that we moved back to Sydney.
Cooma is great, it’s very multicultural due to the Snowy Hydro Scheme, it’s a unique and very cohesive community.
We had a plan to be here for a year but we’ve enjoyed it so much, it’s such a good lifestyle.
My supervision during training has been a really good experience. I’ve been very well supported, I have two main supervisors and they’re available pretty much 24/7, with lots of resources to back them up.
In fact, they check up on me to make sure everything is OK. Even when I’m busy, they might say I’ll see a couple of patients and help you out – so very supportive.
After a day’s worth of consulting they’re very approachable, we’re able to debrief and discuss interesting cases and methods of management.
Dr Egan: I’ve been a procedural rural GP for nearly 30 years, and I’m the longest serving GP in town. Practising in Cooma I provide private general practice services and work as a visiting medical officer at the local hospital providing on-call services in obstetrics, anaesthetics, emergency medicine and general in-patient medical care.
I love watching the babies I deliver grow up – and I’ve started to deliver their babies!
2010 was a big year for me, I delivered my 1000th baby at Cooma Hospital, turned 50 and helped raise $120,000 for local cancer care in Cooma’s Dancing with the Stars.
GP registrars are an important part of our practice. They all need help transitioning from hospital to general practice, and being in a real world, functioning practice is the best place to do that.
I like meeting young, keen doctors and watching how they progress in their journey through medicine and seeing how quickly they take up the complexity of being a GP.
Time management can be a problem particularly early-on in their first term, until you get to know their needs. We cope with that by keeping their consultation numbers down until we know what they’re capable of.