1 You’re needed…and appreciated
It might not be until you experience a waiting room of farmers turn to greet you like a field of sunflowers turning towards the sun, that you realise how needed and appreciated you are as a rural GP.
Or maybe it’s treating the elderly widower who has waited patiently for three weeks to seek your advice on the open abscess on his leg.
Or maybe it’s sharing the joy of the young farming couple bringing a new baby into the world.
Or maybe it’s knowing you saved an unborn child because you were at the rural outreach clinic that day and sent the woman with pre-eclampsia immediately to hospital.
It’s a special job being a rural GP.
2 Have an experience and help a rural community at the same time
Going rural is a unique and rewarding training experience. Who knows how long you might decide to stay? Serving a rural community even for a short time can make a big difference. Even if you do decide to move on, you can do so knowing you made an important contribution to a community in need during your time there.
3 Diversity, diversity and more diversity
Every day as a GP is different and you never know what is going to come through the door next. With fewer specialist services readily accessible in some rural areas, patient presentations are often more diverse than those encountered in large metropolitan centres.
4 Choose your own adventure
One of the great appeals of general practice is career diversity and opportunity. Opportunities to sub-specialise, provide holistic care across multiple settings, and explore new areas of interest are often enhanced in a rural setting. What ‘type’ of rural GP you become is up to you.
5 Rural generalist career pathway
If you’re a doctor that likes to work with their hands, becoming a rural generalist may be the career path for you. Rural generalists are GPs who not only provide community based GP services, but also hospital based specialised services such as obstetrics, anaesthetics and emergency medicine.
6 No traffic
Come on…how many times have you sat in city traffic and wondered what else you could be doing with your time? Spending time with your family? Exercising? Socialising? Learning new skills? Studying? The list goes on…
7 Make the most of your GP training
Training in a supervised setting is a unique opportunity to gain new skills in a safe environment. Make the most of this opportunity – experience the diversity of rural general practice and build an extensive knowledge base that you can use anywhere.
8 Financial rewards
The earning capacity of rural GPs can be significant, depending on how they practise. For example, they may perform lots of procedures attracting higher rebates; they may work as a Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) at the local hospital; and they may acquire skills allowing them to practise as a rural GP obstetrician, GP anaesthetist or emergency physician.
9 Be part of a rural team of medical professionals
Today, most rural practices have teams of doctors, nurses and other health professionals working together, providing collegiate and supportive working environments for you to work and train within.
10 Enjoy being a respected member of a local community
Remember that room full of farmers? The elderly widower? The farming couple? The pregnant mother? They all share one thing in common – respect and appreciation of your care.