Articles and Case Studies

You Never Know What Will Come Through the Door Next!

07 Jun 2013

MDA National Member, Dr Gerry Considine describes how, on any given day, as a rural GP Registrar in outback South Australia, he may deal with anything from a routine prenatal check-up, a child with severe gastroenteritis to suturing wounds of accident victims.
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This incredible variety also mirrors his personal life. Outside of work Gerry is an avid blogger, a passionate pilot, an enthusiastic campaigner and keen guitarist.

What was it that made you choose medicine?

My grandfather was an ENT surgeon who focused on consulting later in his career. I just loved the way he would talk about patients, their conditions and the process of medicine. After school I studied biomedical science and completed an honours year in immunology. It was this lab based work that made me crave more interaction with people, so postgraduate medicine was an obvious choice. It is a fantastic blend of physiology and people skills.

Tell us what it is like in the day of the life of a rural GP Registrar?

Last year I had a particularly crazy day working in a solo doctor town. My supervisor was away doing anaesthetics, but fortunately I had a final year medical student with me. We had a full day of consulting in the GP clinic plus a car roll-over with three occupants needing C-spine x-rays, a guy who needed sutures to his face, a child with bad gastroenteritis and to top it off, it was 48.2°C!
Luckily days like this are rare, but you still get an incredible amount of variety. To be a rural GP you need to be competent at practical procedures like taking x-rays, stitching up wounds and managing airways as well as the everyday complaints that patients might have. You never know what will come through the door next!

Gerry 4What are some of your highlights from training so far?

Being involved in the small town where I was working and living for a year was a great experience. I played footy for the local AFL team, gave talks at the local school and held a men's health day at the golf club. In such a small town, I also was privileged enough to look after pregnant mothers, children, teenagers all the way through to palliative patients at the hospital. Truly cradle to grave care.

Word has it that you have a private pilot's licence …

Before medicine, I was set on becoming a commercial pilot. I was (and still am!) a bit of an aviation tragic. Unfortunately I discovered that this sort of flying can become tedious as a career. For me part of the attraction to rural medicine was the ability to fly out to remote clinics.

Tell us about your blog ruralflyingdoc.com.

I attended a couple of conferences last year and met some doctors who were very active on Twitter and blog sites. Initially, I started writing my own blog as a record of my pilot training, but it has become a site where I pen observations about GP training and compile short Free Open Access Medical Education (#FOAM) pieces. In fact after getting started online, I have met a bunch of similarly minded GPs and we are starting an online GP education site: www.foam4gp.com.

Gerry 2

You also have a keen interest in reform, policy and e-health; tell us a little bit about that.

Like most GPs I have been watching the roll out of the Patient Controlled E-Health Record (PCEHR) closely. Particularly because there is no representation on National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) by GPs in training! I have also been vocal about ensuring that doctors can continue to connect and educate each other using social media. I am involved with GPRA which provides a great opportunity to advocate for GP registrars all around Australia on issues such as these.

What do you do to relax?

It might sound counter-intuitive, but whenever I get a chance to unwind it will usually involve an electric guitar, loud amps and my drummer friend. We play in a two-piece band called Stomp The Orange and it is a great way to de-stress after a long shift. I just hope the neighbours and local pubs don't mind us playing too loudly!

What advice would you give to our student Members?

Even if you are not considering general practice as a career, try and get some experience in your clinical student attachments and even as a junior doctor on a PGPPP term. It will mean that you have a good understanding about what it is like in "GP-Land" for those of us that live there! If you are already thinking of GP as a career, great! And rural GP? Even better!

 

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