Originally from Perth, Dr Rachel James is a trainee GP obstetrician who with her husband Ben, a trainee GP anaesthetist, decided on making the move into rural general practice. Rachel won GP Synergy’s 2019 rural video competition with a video highlighting the reasons she loves living and working in Deniliquin.
Why did you decide to become a GP?
When I first started med school, I have to admit, becoming a rural GP it wasn’t first on my list. But I did go to med school because I wanted to have a meaningful career. It became obvious as time went by that the way to do that was to rural practice because there are just so few GPs out in the country, and it just felt that that’s where the need was.
And then I fell in love with obstetrics. I loved it, but I just felt strange saying goodbye to women after they’ve had their baby, you’ve taken care of them through such a significant part of their life, you’ve gotten to know their family, and then you say goodbye.
I felt that with GP obstetrics, it fitted really well for me because you can just continue on with the relationship that you develop with people and continue to help them with their care, even when their baby is born.
I’m at the stage now where I am seeing toddlers who I have delivered in addition to their mum, their dad and their grandparents. It really feels like true family practice and it is incredibly rewarding.
What do you like best about being a GP obstetrician?
In addition to the continuity of care, I enjoy the fact that I can help people through lots of different stages of life and different issues.
Obviously also the variety, obstetrics, some emergency medicine, and then GP work. The link between ED and community work is really good, you see someone in the ED, and you follow their care in the community and make sure that they’re continuing to improve, and that’s really rewarding work.
How did you find yourself in Deniliquin?
I grew up in Perth and my husband Ben in Adelaide. We felt we wanted to move into rural practice so we took a regional step first to Wagga Wagga.
One of the doctors in Deniliquin (now my supervisor), suggested we check out the town, and we just loved it. It’s so beautiful, the river is so beautiful, and everybody was so welcoming. We just thought, why don’t we give it a go.
We moved here August 2018. We’ve now bought a house and land. We’re currently renovating, so we’re definitely thinking of staying!
Any tips for registrars relocating for GP training?
There are so many social events in a country town. Join the netball team, the tennis group, the yoga class. Stay in town on the weekends and go to the local market, soak up the culture of the town you have chosen. You will get so much more than just a medical placement if you do.
If you are struggling to find a place to rent, talk to your practice. Often there is hospital accommodation while you find your feet and people usually know people who are wanting to rent but just not advertising on the sites we are used to in the big smoke. It’s all about word of mouth in small towns.
If you’re keen to find out where you can undertake rural GP training, see the towns that offer that opportunity in our town profiles.