I think it would be best for me as an amateur blogger to initially write about something I know well, so my first post is an explanation of the reasoning behind my choice of career – general practice – rural general practice to be more specific.
I grew up in a mid-sized rural town in the south east of South Australia and enjoyed the little perks that country life had to offer me as a child and later as a teenager. I loved visiting my uncle’s farms and going out on the 4-wheeler or going tad-polling or yabbying.
I remember occasionally going to see our family GP, expecting to wait about an hour (and not minding about this) and when we saw him, thinking “wow, he is so intelligent and kind; I want to be like that when I’m older”. I saw how these doctors had such a broad range of skills and such variety in their work, ranging from counselling to procedural work. I loved the idea of developing relationships with people in a professional sense and hopefully having a positive impact on their lives through work as a local doctor.
Thankfully my parents were always encouraging my brother and I to pursue any career we chose, telling us we could do anything we put our minds to. We worked hard at school and did well, despite having to do some subjects over the phone as there were not enough students for the school to hold certain classes each year.
No other family members had a remotely medical background so I find it interesting that my older brother chose dentistry and I chose general practice. I say I chose general practice specifically, and not ‘medicine’, because the reason I chose to study medicine (and thankfully was allowed in!) was to become a GP. That’s not to say I didn’t have an open mind about other specialties, but the attraction to general practice just continued to grow for me the more I progressed through medical school and my hospital years. I enjoyed every rotation in the hospital but often thought to myself “I couldn’t do this all the time”.
There is such variety in general practice – this makes it both exciting and challenging! I don’t even mind the occasional day of coughs/colds or ‘tears and smears’ especially after a busy on call day filled with emergency presentations.
GPs are gate keepers of the healthcare system; it is a privilege being at the forefront for so many presentations and truly being able to apply your clinical acumen to come up with a differential diagnosis and formulate a management plan for the patient.
Another major draw card for me is the flexibility and potential for improved work-life balance that general practice offers. You really can make general practice what you want it to be for you.
I am thoroughly enjoying building relationships with my more regular patients and I think this makes for good medicine too – as a person’s regular GP, you are not only aware of their medical history and allergies, you also get to know their families and social situation, which can offer invaluable insights into ‘why things are the way they are’.
I hope that, if you happen to be at a stage in your life where you are considering career options, you might consider general practice. I’m certainly glad I did!
Considering General Practice as a career? Apply here.