After obtaining a rural cadetship, Wollongong born Dr Rachael Fikkers chose to do her internship and residency years in Wagga Wagga Base Hospital. The experience she gained in rural medicine and the rural lifestyle have been why she has also undertaken her GP training in Wagga Wagga and decided to stay.
Dr Fikkers always knew she wanted to be a GP and she is currently completing her training at a practice in Wagga Wagga.
“The best part of rural general practice is the continuity of care and being an integral part of people’s lives. I get to see whole families, through all stages of their journey, including through antenatal care and palliative care.
“Being a rural GP is a lot more diverse than I originally thought it would be, and occasionally a lot more challenging. I have the flexibility in my training to be able to work in several different capacities including GP VMO work in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
“I love the feeling of being able to make a difference to someone’s life, even if that is just being there to listen,” she said.
As part of her training Dr Fikkers spent 12 months at the Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation.
“I didn’t have a lot of experience working with Aboriginal clients prior to my GP training, although I have a great commitment to addressing the inequality in life expectancy.
“I sought out the AMS for my training to gain experience and insight into the health needs and challenges within the Aboriginal community, and it has been an amazing journey.
“I would highly recommend working in an AMS for other registrars. You see a lot of interesting medicine and it gives you a unique insight into the social challenges faced by the community on a daily basis,” she said.
Both Dr Fikkers and her husband were born and bred in Wollongong, and while they don’t have any family in Wagga Wagga they love the lifestyle and its close enough for visits back to the coast when needed.
“Wagga Wagga is a great town – there is always something to do from visiting wineries, attending farmer’s markets, festivals, travelling shows and cultural experiences.
“My family moved to Wagga Wagga with me, and there are great schools, a university and job prospects for them also.
“I love the fact that it takes eight minutes to get anywhere in Wagga Wagga but still offers enough entertainment to keep the kids occupied.
“It has facilities to rival other major cities with the country charm of rural life. It’s the best of both worlds!” Dr Fikkers said.