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Working in rural emergency: GP advanced skills training post

Dr Hunt is a General Practitioner (GP) Registrar doing an advanced skills emergency post at Northeast Health Wangaratta. We caught up with him to learn more about how the training post is progressing.

Tell me about your current role.
I am currently working in an advanced skills training post. The role is 100 per cent emergency in a full-time capacity. The hospital is in a rural setting and it’s located in a big catchment area. The area goes up into New South Wales. 

As a result of where it’s located, I see a broad range of trauma; everything from ski traumas and river accidents to farming factory incidents. There are about three or four ski resorts in the area such as Mt. Buller, Big D, Dinner Plain and Mt Baw Baw. In the summer time, there is mountain biking in Bright. In this environment, you definitely get more hands-on experience than in an urban environment.

At the hospital, we have three to six doctors on shift at any one time. My role as a Registrar is in the middle, in terms of seniority. Under me, there are about two or three interns and medical students. This gives me a bit of responsibility in terms of teaching them, as well as working in the hospital to facilitate my own upskilling. The post has been important for me to fill in my Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) log book, in terms of the procedures I’ve undertaken.

Why did you want to pursue an advanced skills post?
I’ve always been interested in working in the area. I worked at a GP clinic and urgent care centre in Myrtleford. Once I got training and licensed through ACRRM, it was a natural fit to progress into emergency medicine.

I grew up in Northeastern Victoria in a town called Walwa and my dad was the solo GP in town. My family and I have settled in the area and live on a little farm.

Would you recommend the advanced skills posts to other GP Registrars? Why?
Definitely would for a number of reasons. The post provides an extensive training environment across the clinical spectrum. It provides a level of supervised training at the hospital, plus it allows for training of a number of students from the University of Melbourne. Perhaps the most important is that it provides a good work/life balance. The people I work with, they are a great bunch of people to work with because they are so cohesive.

If people are thinking about moving to do posts, I don’t think it gets better. Great people, great family environment, great produce, great drawing card, great general practice, opportunities and it’s a very supportive place. 
RWAV acknowledges the funding provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and Human Services under the Rural Extended and Advanced Procedural Skills (REAPS) program. 

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