Dr Sally Plunkett is in her first GP community term at Gulgong, a small town just over an hour’s drive from the large regional centre of Dubbo.
Apart from avoiding kangaroos on her drive to work, she is finding being a rural GP as rewarding as she imagined.
“My GP supervisor is incredibly supportive with the start of my GP training and is always available to help me when dealing with patients. The staff and patients at Gulgong Medical Centre are particularly friendly which has made my new job so enjoyable.
“I am really enjoying the variety of medicine seen in rural general practice – from dealing with the acutely unwell patient at the local hospital to managing patients’ complex chronic diseases.
“It’s an incredibly rewarding process where you have the opportunity to make a great difference to a patient’s life in their rural community,” Dr Plunkett said.
Dr Plunkett is originally from the coast, but now calls Western NSW her home.
“My parents are pharmacists in Port Macquarie and I had thought of following in the family footsteps, but after studying in Orange, I went into medicine knowing I wanted to be a rural GP.
“I did rural placements, including the Northern Territory, Tiwi Islands and one month in Wilcannia,” Dr Plunkett said.
Sally is married to a third-generation farmer so her placement at Gulgong allows her to live on the family’s 4000-acre farm between Dunedoo and Mendooran.
“Every day I drive 45 minutes from our property to work, so avoiding the kangaroos on the roads has been a bit of a challenge!
“Besides the travel, work has also brought new challenges – transitioning from working in a hospital environment to managing patients in general practice has required a new set of knowledge and skills.
“I love being a rural GP trainee – my ambition is to practice in Dunedoo as there’s a gap there, in terms of availability of GPs,” Dr Plunkett said.