As a rural generalist Dr Amanda Venables wears many hats – GP and supervisor in Milton, GP and supervisor in Aboriginal health in Nowra, medical student teacher, emergency doctor and GP anaesthetist at her local hospitals, and locum in Queensland. She sees GP supervision as her opportunity to ‘give back’ similar to the medical practitioners who contributed to her own training.
Tell us a little bit about your background
I graduated in 1983 from the University of Sydney as a pharmacist, moving to Milton in 1989 as pharmacist proprietor of the Milton Pharmacy to practice as a community pharmacist and hospital pharmacist at Milton Ulladulla Hospital (MUH). lt was the perfect place to grow a family.
At the age of 44, I decided to return to study and commenced medicine at the University of Wollongong in 2007, in the first cohort of a new post graduate degree. I balanced this with raising my four children.
Following graduation, I undertook intern and JMO training in Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. I then proceeded to train as GP registrar in anaesthetics at Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital (SDMH) and completed my JCCA anaesthetics requirements. I returned to Milton Medical Centre as a GP registrar in 2014 and commenced work in MUH as a VMO, utilising my anaesthetic skills in the emergency department and in the operating theatre.
Why did you decide to become a GP/rural generalist?
I was attracted to this career through the motivation provided by my mentors Drs Paul Rothe and Brett Thomson. They had been providing this service for many years. It was attractive in that it proved an opportunity to apply and practice a varied skill set and support a rural hospital, dedicated to the local community. I graduated with an ACRRM Fellowship in early 2016.
What was your motivation in becoming a GP supervisor?
Once again, I was encouraged by my mentors to undertake GP training supervision, I also believed it was my opportunity to ‘give back’ following the many years medical practitioners had contributed to my training. GP supervision also gave me an opportunity to highlight the benefits of rural general practice and support ongoing return to practice in the local area.
What do you enjoy most about being a GP supervisor?
I thoroughly enjoy being able to support the registrar in their growth and development. They have excellent medical knowledge when they arrive, and appreciate assistance with the navigation of the software, referral base and negotiating patient agendas. I enjoy being challenged and offering challenges.
How do you find working and living in Milton?
The Milton Ulladulla area is very special and has a burgeoning population with considerable growth and development in recent years. However, it has not lost its rural feel – everyone knows everyone. It has so many attributes with beautiful beaches, bushwalks, dining experiences and cultural exploits.
I am fortunate to work at Milton Medical Centre, with a team of GPs and nurses with an array of skills. We take pride in our support and education of GP registrars, JMOs, and medical students. We also have an amazing team in practice management.
My four children were born here and continue to come home on a regular basis, they all decided to study medicine.
The community is extremely supportive and appreciate continuity of care. I now care for families I have known for over 30 years.
What do you see as the importance of RGs to rural communities?
Rural generalists have the skills and passion to support communities with limited resources.
My rural generalist hat keeps me busy with general practice at Milton Medical Centre, emergency medicine at MUH and SDMH, GP anaesthetics at MUH and SDMH, as a locum in Gladstone QLD and opportunities in ICU at SDMH.
I also work in lndigenous health at Waminda – South Coast Women’s Health & Welfare Aboriginal Corp and am an accredited GP supervisor there as well, as a surgical assistant at Nowra Private Hospital and am involved in teaching at the University of Wollongong.
Learn more about GP training in South Eastern NSW.