After growing up on a farm at Tocumwal, two and a half hours from Wagga Wagga, Dr James Connell moved away for medical school and hospital training. He has returned to the Murrumbidgee region to complete his GP training.
Why did you decide to become a GP?
I went through medical school on a Rural Australia Medical Undergraduate Scholarship (RAMUS), so I had a rural GP as a mentor, he made general practice and rural general practice very enticing.
In a nut shell, I wanted to become a GP because of the variability, flexibility and patient-centred focus that general practice offers.
What do you enjoying about training and living in Wagga Wagga?
We really enjoy it here. There are lots of activities and sports with good facilities. It’s good to get out there, be active and have fun that way.
GP training in Wagga Wagga has been really good, I’m in a practice with very experienced GPs who all have different interests. They’re a great bunch of doctors all-round, in general knowledge and procedural medicine.
Did you have a rural background prior to GP training?
I grew up in Tocumwal, a small town on the NSW/Victorian border of 2000 people. I grew up on a farm there – so the Riverina is very familiar to me.
I studied at UNSW as a medical student, and I was in metropolitan hospitals.
Most of my GP training has been in Newcastle, so it’s been kind of in-between metro and rural. I’ve transferred into Murrumbidgee to follow my wife as she has a job here.
Would you recommend training in a rural area?
Definitely, I think it’s a very rewarding experience.
I like the fact that in rural general practice, there is the flow-on effects of treating someone and their family members, you’re treating the whole family.
Although there are some specialists available, as a rural GP you still do minor procedures yourself, it’s more interesting being more hands-on and not just referring people on.
And you really do get that chance to develop relationships with the community. You’re not a random face, you constantly run into people that are your patients, it feels quite special to be part of the community like that.
If you would like to know more about Wagga Wagga, or other locations in the Murrumbidgee & ACT training subregion, visit our town profiles.