Damian Hannon - General practice was a career choice that took Damian by surprise.

Damian Hannon

Damian Hannon
Tanjil Place Medical, Moe

Damian’s pursuit of variety and continuity of care led him into general practice, a decision that has changed his life and helped him find professional satisfaction.

“I always knew I liked variety and Emergency Medicine appealed to me for that very reason, however the lack of continuity of care felt quite unnatural for me. I had no connection with the patient beyond that initial encounter, the outcome of their condition and how they were afterwards remained unknown. I realised for me professional satisfaction was going to be gained by going along the entire journey with the patient and their families, not just by intervening at a snapshot in time.”

“I also love variety and the challenges it brings clinically. Also for me a work life balance was important. My partner and I had barely spent an evening or weekend together in years due to the shift-based nature of hospital work.”

“Something I really enjoy is the clinical independence that general practice offers. I now have the capacity and independence to practice in a way that is reflective of me and my values.”

Damian has enjoyed the opportunities offered during his training. In 2019 he undertook a Registrar Liaison Role, liaising with registrars and management. In 2020 he is undertaking a post with EV as a Registrar Medical Educator.

“I chose the RME post medical education is a passion of mine. I also feel like if you want to constitute significant change and improvement in the system this is the best way to do so. Helping to educate and learn from each other is the best way we can help our patients.”

Damian has special interests in women’s reproductive rights and sexual health which he can persue through his clinical practice.

“As a GP you have a real opportunity to instigate change and the total privilege of being part of a patient’s life. The last few months of my career have been the most rewarding to date and I would strongly recommend a career in General Practice to any doctor considering their future career.”

Sonia Jitpiriyaroj - Sonia wants to improve her patients’ health.

Sonia Jitpiriyaroj

Sonia Jitpiriyaroj

Sonia chose general practice to make a real difference in her patients’ lives. She is passionate about preventative health and supporting patients throughout their life journey.

“The thought of being able to follow and support my patients’ journeys throughout their life excited me. I wanted to be able to provide continuous care for them after their hospital stay, as well as in day-to-day life. I wanted to be ‘their doctor’.”

“I love the variety and breadth in General Practice. Each day you never know what presentations come through the door – from neonatal care and geriatric health, to cervical screening tests and mental health counselling.”

Sonia says there is a lot to learn but she has enjoyed it all.

“I have enjoyed the rapid learning curve and daily challenges of General Practice. My current supervisors have been fantastic by exposing me to interesting presentations and sharing their experiences as General Practitioners.”

“My favourite moments have definitely been building rapport and a professional relationship with my patients. It has been so rewarding to listen and show care to my patients when they need it most.”

“I am passionate about preventative medicine. Each day I have the opportunity to improve my patients’ lives by educating them on how to live a healthier life. It is so rewarding when patients come back to tell me that they have managed to quit unhealthy habits with my support and motivation.”

Rosemary Gentle - Rosemary shares her top 10 Top Reasons to Choose General Practice

Rosemary Gentle

Rosemary Gentle

Training Length

Need I say more? It’s a lovely succinct program and you can go from registrar to consultant in 2 years (or a few more if you train part time like me)

Flexible Hours

Unlike the hospital system where you hours are dictated to, in general practice, I’ve found my working days  / hours have been much more flexible. I work around kinder commitments and I always add a few breaks into my day to make sure I leave on time. It’s just a totally different atmosphere to the night shift, over worked hospital doctor lifestyle I was used to.

Areas To Specialise In

In GP, you can continue to find areas that you are interested in or are passionate about. I love women’s health and children’s health so during my training I have done by the certificate of women’s health as well as the Sydney child health diploma. This means I can provide shared care, even as a registrar, and I end up attracting more of these patient’s because of the training and my passion in these areas.

Variety of Work

No two patients are alike. From one consultation to the next you might have someone with reflux, someone with suicidal thoughts, chest pain,  needing to break a new diagnosis of cancer and then vaccinate a baby. You might see someone in their first years of life followed by patients in their last. It’s just so varied that I actually love the ‘just here for a medical certificate’ consultations which people would tell me was all I would do in GP. It’s not.

Longitudinal Role in a Patient’s Health Journey

I love getting to see a patient through their healthcare journey. My favourite example is when I helped a woman prepare for pregnancy, celebrated with her when she became pregnant, helped manage her pregnancy and then got to see her baby when he was born, as well as become his doctor. It’s an amazing feeling.

Independence

You have your own consulting room and you start to accumulate your own loyal patients from day one with the added benefit of the support and back up of your supervisors.

Collaboration

Another misconception was that GP would be lonely. It’s not. There’s always someone around for a chat, be it coming in for some help in a consultation or you being called in to see something interesting. In between patients you can always say hi to people and I’m often off having a chat with whoever is free.

Yes. You’re in your own room when you’re doing consultations but it has never felt isolating, in fact, being at a good GP clinic feels like you’re a part of a family which is why I absolutely love going to work.

Support

I remember being overworked and undervalued in hospitals, feeling guilty for taking a sick day. In GP land, if you’re unwell, they send you home (the nurse marches you out, no questions asked). If family commitments come up they’re happy to work around you, and if a family emergency comes up they cancel your patients and get you out of there. It’s a sort of caring that you don’t get elsewhere. As I said before, it’s more like you’re a part of a family rather than just a cog in a big machine.

Ebony Dunne - Ebony loves a challenge and wants work life balance.

Ebony Dunne

Ebony wanted to find a career that was both clinically challenging whilst also allowing her to fulful her life priorities and have good work balance. She has found that in general practice.

“I like a challenge and I enjoy working with people and am passionate about health and wellbeing.”

“I think a few things contribute including an ability to find satisfaction in the work that you do and the ability to switch off from work when away from work. Being able to maintain adequate sleep, good nutrition and exercise most days and engagement in activities outside of work is also paramount.”

“I have lots of outside of work interests ranging from running, swimming, triathalons, pilates and playing tennis to baking and really just any excuse to get outside such as hiking or being at the beach. I also love spending time with my family and friends.”

Her advice to doctors considering general practice as a career is to look at the big picture.

“I think it is important for someone considering their options and choices in their medical career to identify what their priorities are. For me I wanted a career that was family friendly and allowed me freedom and flexibility and ability for good work and life balance. This, along with enjoying most aspects of medicine, led me to general practice.”

“I would encourage all junior doctors to get a broad range of experiences in their first 2-3 years in the hospital system to get an idea for which aspects of medicine they enjoy most. I found I enjoyed most terms but particularly obstetrics and palliative care. Without having done a palliative care term I don’t think I would have realised how rewarding this aspect of medicine could be.

Ebony has been able to pursue her special interests in general practice.

“Before starting in general practice, I worked in the hospital for 4 and a half years with almost 2 of those years being in obstetrics and gynaecology. I am very passionate about women’s health and enjoy working with mum’s (or mum’s to be) during and after pregnancy. I have been able to integrate this into my work in GP and plan to do shared care once I have completed my training.”

“General Practice has been an excellent opportunity to be able to balance work and life with much more friendly weekday hours and less weekends than what was needed in the hospital system.”

Thong Le Finding meaning in his work.

Thong Le

Thong pursuit of a medical career was influenced by his early years. A family member was unwell and he was exposed to doctors and nurses.

“My father was unwell when I was young and spent a fair amount of time in hospitals. The amazing care doctors and nurses I saw provided for my father inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. The best ones showed strong communication skills, work ethic, academic ability and compassion.”

Thong chose general practice as his medical specialty and commenced with EV in 2018. He believes your career choice is a very personal decision.

“Career choice is a highly personal decision and I have seen my friends and colleagues make their choices in very different ways. It is such a personal choice I sometimes hesitate in giving advice. What I can advise is, take a moment and reflect on your own values and what is important to you in life, not just work. Knowing this will help you decide.”

During his training he worked as an EV Registrar Liaison Officer, working with both registrars and management.

He likes the variety general practice offers combining it with other aspects of his life. He says being organised is important.

“Accepting that all of parts of your life can at times be a bit chaotic and balance is a fluid concept that means different things on different days. More practically, have a daily schedule!”

“Work life balance can sometimes be elusive, especially as a junior doctor in training. I always schedule in time for myself, with my family and with friends. I am quite vigilant about this time and will not let work interfere with this time.”

Having a focus on what his goals are is important to Thong.

“Being a doctor can at times be difficulty, challenging and very stressful. I heard a GP medical educator speak about ‘finding meaning in your work’ which really resonated with me. Having this lens on my work makes getting through the tougher days a lot easier and has given me an overall better satisfaction of my work.”