15 September 2020

Seven reasons to train as a rural GP


What if you were promised a job that was challenging, rewarding and offered you opportunities to build your clinical skills far more quickly than your fellow GPs in training? Would you want to learn more? Working as a rural or remote GP in the Northern Territory promises that and more. Here are seven reasons why taking your GP training bush will the best decision you ever make.

  1. Become highly skilled

No other job can offer you the crazy diversity that working rurally in the NT can. On any given day you could be treating unusual tropical diseases, responding to an emergency, managing chronic illnesses or helping to deliver a baby. If learning by doing is your thing, then expect to learn a huge amount while working as a remote GP.

  1. Do your bit for closing the gap

The 2019 Close the Gap report says that we are not on track to reduce the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Rural GPs in the NT work with mostly Indigenous patients and your commitment to closing the gap can make a huge impact on the communities in which you’ll live and work. Good doctors in the bush who are driven to provide quality healthcare in a culturally appropriate way make a real difference.

  1. Reap the benefits of team work

Forget the days of being in an isolated consulting room; remote general practice is about working in a team. The more remote the health service, the more vital the team becomes. You’ll be working alongside highly experienced health practitioners, nurses and visiting specialists. Don’t forget about the telehealth team either—specialists are available through this network to support remote GPs and are only a phone call away. Your team will be an invaluable source of support professionally and emotionally.

  1. Out-earn your urban counterparts

There are serious financial incentives for GPs who are prepared to go remote—and the more remote you go, the higher the incentives. It’s all tied up in the measure of need, and there is no secret that good doctors who are willing to go remote are highly sought after. If you want to get ahead financially, working as a remote GP will help you achieve these goals while you sharpen your clinical skills at the same time. Win win!

  1. Cross cultural experience

People spend bucket loads of money every year travelling to amazing places to learn about other cultures and to be wowed by our diverse and wonderful planet. In the NT, you can work and live in communities, where English is not the mother tongue and ancient tradition underpins the way people behave every day. Prepare to have your expectations challenged and your life enriched by the relationships you will make by working in remote Indigenous communities.

  1. Choose your own adventure

If camping, bushwalking, fishing, mountain bike riding, 4WDriving, kayaking, nature photography or just being out in the wide-open spaces fit into your definition of a good time, then the NT is bound to impress. Think of this way; just over 200,000 people live in a huge area that fills almost 20% of Australia. For you that means pristine coastline, bush and desert waiting to be explored and enjoyed.

  1. Quickly grow your confidence as a GP

If one of the great appeals of general practice for you is career diversity and opportunity, then working remotely in the NT will give you that in spades. Remote locations can mean limited resources, which provides opportunities to be involved in a broad range of medicine in an autonomous setting. Learning and working in this environment creates competent and confident doctors because you’ll be pushed outside your comfort zone. This may seem daunting at first, but once you roll up your sleeves and start honing your skills, working in this environment is hugely satisfying.