By Dr Ros Bullock,
GP at Cowra, New South Wales
Choose your own adventure … I used to love these books as a kid. After the scene was set, the characters were placed into a decision point and, you, the reader, could decide for them. If you thought they should enter the cave, you were directed to page 52; if you thought they should go over the hill, then turn to page 36 … and so on. Whatever your decision, it was different and fun.
Working in rural medicine is very much like a choose your own adventure story. So if you are keen and willing, and there is appropriate training out there, you can do it!
After attaining my fellowship in 2008, I have had seasons of doing all sorts of different clinical, teaching and advocacy work, as well as lots of worthwhile volunteering in my community.
My week currently includes a day in theatre training in upper and lower endoscopies at our local hospital, piano teaching (I have seven students, most of whom are friends of my kids), doing the IV contrast for CT scans, rugby and tennis training, running the local community playgroup, helping an overseas trained doctor become accredited to open his own practice in a neighbouring town, doing tutorials for the registrars at our practice, and participating in relocation interviews for doctors new to rural practice in NSW. Oh, and raising my three children.
And next week is a bit different! Sitting behind a desk seeing patients or helping out with the ED roster of our local hospital just isn’t practical at the moment, so I am taking a break from those things, and doing more of what does fit into my family’s needs right now.
Rural medicine really is a choose-your-own-adventure story, and it is great to be able to make it fit into my age and stage in life at every decision point along the way. I have also been blessed with a number of mentors, mainly other rural GPs who do the same kind of advocacy work that I do through the NSW Rural Doctors Network, whose independent advice and counsel at decision points in my life has been invaluable.
I work with a wonderful group of doctors whose skill sets all complement each other and not just allow, but encourage flexibility with our workloads. It’s a wonderful, rich learning environment, and we are always on the lookout for others to share it with.
Find out how to connect with a rural health career at http://www.rhwa.org.au/gorural