Tell us a little bit about your background.
I come from a rural background; I grew up partly on a farm near Coonabarabran and partly in Canberra.
I studied nutrition and dietetics, and then completed a Masters in Dietetics, but I couldn’t ignore the fact that I wanted to be a doctor.
I went back to university in Sydney and studied medicine and really enjoyed it. At that stage I didn’t think I was going to end up working rurally – but I did a couple of placements out in Coonabarabran as a med student and then did my final year of medical school in Dubbo. I loved the lifestyle, and loved being part of the community in a way that I couldn’t be in Sydney. I completed my internship and residency in Orange, stayed on to complete my advanced skills training in emergency medicine, and then took started as a GP registrar in Coonabarabran.
Why did you choose to be a rural generalist?
One of the things I loved about being a medical student in Coonabarabran was the opportunity, the scope of practice, and the ability to provide inpatient care as well as nursing home care and home visits, and emergency department on call. All of those were aspects of practice I really enjoyed, so being a rural generalist seemed a natural fit.
I also wanted to do general practice because I enjoy the continuity of care and I love the idea of taking people through different life stages.
With your procedural skills how do you hope to use them into the future?
I chose emergency medicine as my procedural skill. That was for a few reasons – you’re quite flexible in the town size you can go to and it marries really well with general practice in terms of the skills and the continuity of care.
Also, just because I really love emergency medicine!
In a town like Coonabarabran, the GPs cover the emergency department in the local hospital. Already I do on call work, I do a 24 hour on call maybe three or four times a month with backup from my supervisor.
Ultimately, I would love to settle down in a town that that needs GPs who have broad skills.
What are you enjoying about rural general practice so far?
I’m enjoying a lot of the things that I hoped I’d enjoy about rural general practice.
I love the scope. I love that in a day I might have rooms in the morning, do an excision, a home visit, and then head up to the hospital to review inpatients. I love that. I love the holistic care and the scope of practice – it’s a challenge but it also keeps you engaged. I’m also really enjoying the lifestyle change, outside of work.
What’s it like living and working in Coonabarabran?
I live nearly 40 minutes out of Coonabarabran with my husband and son. It’s beautiful living back on the farm and we get to do great things on the weekends like go for family picnics and barbecues and bonfires and ride horses and go out running.
Coonabarabran is a small town, but there are enough services in terms of what we need. There are food and home improvement shops as well as a couple of pubs, there’s a couple of clothing shops, and there’s a cafe that serves good coffee – what more could you ask for!
I think it’s made me realise how little I actually need on a day-to-day basis. I’ve enjoyed the slower pace and time to enjoy hobbies and find joy in little things.
If you’d like to learn more about training as a rural generalist, head to Procedural / rural generalist training.