Dr Alvin Dousip started his GP training after working in paediatrics in New Zealand, he found that having supportive supervisors was very important to his training and wellbeing. He’s now giving back by becoming a GP supervisor in the Western NSW town of Bathurst.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I completed my medical degree in New Zealand it was actually part of a twinning program back in my home country of Malaysia. I did the preclinical years in Malaysia, and then completed my clinical years at the partner university which in my case was in New Zealand. That’s how I got my New Zealand medical degree.
After about 14-15 years, in New Zealand I thought an environment change would be really good. Because you might already know New Zealand is not a big place! There’s not many people there and I got to the point where I thought, “Oh, actually, I know you from somewhere”. I thought, I’ll try somewhere new and different, but not so different than I’d be like “oh, gosh, I don’t know what I got myself into”. So that’s why I hopped over the ditch to Australia.
Why did you choose general practice?
I was a bit undecided about at that stage in my career about where to go. I had been doing quite a bit of paediatrics before I came to Australia, about eight years or so. While I was trying to find out what to do with my life, I was doing a bit of locuming. And I prefer general pediatrics, because of the breadth of cases that you get to see there. So once I was doing one of my locums, one of the other doctors said, “Well, it sounds like maybe you’d be a good fit for general practice, because there’s quite a lot of paediatrics in general practice. And, you know, if you like the breadth of what it offers, GP might be the way to go”.
I thought, actually, why not try it? Because things are getting a bit, I guess, stale for me. Even with just seeing general cases, but in only pediatrics. I really did want more. So that’s how I got into general practice.
You did some of your training in Bathurst and you’ve stayed on at the practice you trained in – what have you enjoyed most about training and working in Bathurst?
I think Bathurst is a very good place to be living in and not just during training. Because my background is a more regional or rural, I don’t quite like metropolitan areas. Even when I was in New Zealand, I stayed in the smaller towns. Bathurst wasn’t so big, it’s growing though and getting bigger. But it also wasn’t too far away from a big place if you wanted something more like in Sydney. So enough of distance to kind of like keep things at bay, but also not too far.
Do you feel like you’ve become part of the Bathurst community?
It certainly feels like it. It’s a place that’s small enough that when you go out and about, you see people that are patients of yours, who say hello. But it doesn’t mean that they stop you and ask you about medical things.
What made you decide to become a GP supervisor?
I wanted to give back what I got from all my training. Coming into a different system, I was more familiar with the New Zealand system which can be quite different to the Australian system, and it can trip you up. I had thought as I was going through the program, wouldn’t it be nice if I could give back in the future to the next generation of GPs, to make it easier for them and to make training a pleasant experience. Just because I know what it’s like to have gone through that very experience, and that I needed support.
As a relatively new GP supervisor, what are you looking forward to about the upcoming supervisor workshop in Bathurst?
I think it’ll be nice to have a face-to-face session, finally. I’m looking forward to networking opportunities and catching up with other supervisors. It reminded me of being a registrar and attending the Fusion workshop, where registrars from across NSW gathered in Sydney for a workshop. It was quite interesting others who I knew who were on the GP training pathway as well. It was good to see people that you’ve worked with before, and learn about the choices others have made to get to where they are.
In my training experience, I found that my supervisors were very supportive, learning was easier. If I had any problems, they were very accessible. It did make working life easier as well because working and studying at the same time can be quite difficult. And if I hadn’t had the very supportive supervisors that I’d had, throughout the training, I think it would have been a lot harder to get through. I’m really grateful for them and I’d like to pay things back.
Do you think that you’ll be practicing in Bathurst in the longer term?
It does look like I’ve grown quite a few roots in Bathurst, so long term, I do see myself staying here. I bought a house a few years ago and I like the location. When I bought the house that I’m in now, it was the last house on the street. But now the street has extended onto another street, it’s nice to see that sort of growth.
To learn more about GP training in Bathurst visit our Western NSW webpage.