Belinda Watson - GP Synergy
  • 2023 AGPT applications open 21 March 2022

Belinda Watson

Tell me a little bit about you background and why you are studying medicine?

My inspiration for studying medicine – apart from an interest at school – I had children and I would take them to our local GP and he was amazing with children, and we would discuss decisions about their care.

I was thinking about what I wanted to do after having children and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I resat the HSC at my local TAFE and then got into medical science at UNSW and was lucky to transfer into the graduate program and did a year of research and then transferred into the graduate stream for medicine at UNSW.

Always interested in being a GP, my local GP in Surry Hills was amazing. I thought if I ever did medicine – even though it was pie in the sky – that’s what I would like to be, a community GP.

Born and bred in Sydney.

Why did you apply for the scholarship?

I saw the brochure for the scholarship in the lift at Uni, and I knew I wanted to be a GP.

I also like geriatrics as well, so that was another reason for general practice.

When it came time to put everything together, it all came together.

Tell me a bit about your research project.

My research project was born from clinical experience and time on the wards – I like geriatrics as a sub-specialty. I’d watch people get discharged with instructions to see their GP, and I worried about whether they would.

Lots of older people are living alone and are incapacitated – I wondered if they would follow up with their GP. Although they are well enough to go home their not necessarily very well.

I pitched the idea in the interview, and one of the panel liked the idea and ended up being my supervisor.

Few studies have investigated older patients with regards to general practice follow-up after an emergency department (ED) admission. We measured the proportion of older patients given explicit general practice follow-up instructions who sought care by day seven after an ED admission.

The scholarship is 12 months on top of normal studies, so on top of other responsibilities so it needed to be an achievable project.

I got together with my supervisor and nutted out the details, he helped me through the process including submitting the project to the LHD for ethics approval, he helped with all that.

I was very excited to be given the opportunity.

Where was your general practice community placement?

Surry Hills – in a new practice – a bit different to my local GP who was located in the front of an old house.

The owners of the practice are young doctors, and there was registrar in the practice who was another local. I was able to sit with her and got to learn about the ins and outs of training.

She gave me some good advice about training and she allowed me to participate in clinical work, I was able to take patient’s histories – we’d both take notes and then swap to compare.

The practice has a broad patient population – so was a great experience.

Do you want to be a GP?

Yes – I’m pretty firm about that – I’m not going to retrain again!

Going into medicine I was very inspired and lucky to have the resources to be able to apply and get a spot.

I like people, and GP is about people not just about one problem they have it’s about their life.

As a GP you can be involved, interested and proactive – what I’d like to be.

GP is about all aspects of patients care.

I’m in ICU at the moment – everyone is intubated – so no one speaks!

I’m really enjoying the journey so far and think how privileged I am to be on it.

When I started Hepatitis C didn’t have a treatment, and now it does – I think that’s pretty exciting.

The scholarship is great – it’s a great opportunity to delve into the medicine you’re interested in.

It’s an opportunity to get into an area of interest a bit better, you also learn communication skills and team work, as you can’t do a project alone – so it’s a great experience.

For more information

Belinda’s study was featured in Australian Family Physician (she was first author):

http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2017/july/general-practitioner-follow-up-in-older-patients-after-an-emergency-department-admission/