Being based in Bathurst has meant GP registrar Dr Kelly Bradley has made great local connections. Her time is divided between her young family, playing hockey, training as a GP as well as working at the local hospital as a GP Obstetrician.
Why did you decide to become a rural GP?
I have a background in nursing and allied health, and I thought working as a GP would allow me to meet my goals better…improving health outcomes in rural and indigenous communities.
What do you enjoy about rural general practice?
The biggest benefit of being a rural GP is being able to look after the patient’s whole family and their extended family and getting to know the community, and being a part of that.
Rural GPs have greater responsibility to patients and their communities to provide a better continuity of care. There are also more opportunities to do a lot more medical and procedural work than other GPs.
Being a rural GP also offers flexibility – I can fit my family and sport around my work.
Would you recommend becoming a rural GP to others?
Definitely, I would recommend being a rural GP for the lifestyle. The work-life balance allows you to maintain the lifestyle you choose. There is flexibility in training options and flexibility in your career pathway.
I would recommend planning ahead. Let your supervisor and training organisation know what you want to do, so they can better cater to your GP training needs.
There are great social activities like country races, polo meets, wineries and camping – encourage your friends to come out to the country, you can train together and have fun!
I’m also involved in the local area health network – so I’ve met lots of people that way.
Why did you decide to become a GP proceduralist in obstetrics?
I love surgery but being a GP proceduralist is better suited to me because it offers more flexibility for having children and remaining in the country.
Being able to keep people in rural communities for medical procedures is so important. It allows people to stay closer to home.
What are the challenges in being a rural GP?
There is a workforce shortage and it’s easy to want to solve that on your own. Having generalist skills means you can help out in many ways. The way to overcome being consumed by work is with support whether it’s family, your network of peers, or mentors. It’s good to have senior doctors to keep an eye on workloads.
I had the challenge of managing my children during training, but the benefit of GP training is the flexibility; there’s also good support in base hospitals and throughout the GP training process.