Check out these great reasons for choosing general practice as your medical specialty Thinking about becoming a GP in Australia? Here are just a few great reasons you might want to choose general practice as your specialty. 1) As a GP, you’ll enjoy more diversity of care In general practice, you never know what medical adventure will pop through the door next. You get to use all the skills learned in your medical training while rapidly growing your skill set and breadth of experience. General practice is an ideal choice for those who thrive on challenges and lots of variety. As the first point of contact for patients, your work encompasses the entire medical spectrum and plays a critical role in public health. 2) GP training programs are government funded and highly supportive As a GP registrar, you’ll be paid while you train. Training takes place within a range of hospital and general practice environments, from specialist medical centres and teaching hospitals to urban and city practices. During your training period, you’ll get all the support you need from highly experienced medical educators and GP supervisors. 3) You can pursue additional areas of interest As a GP, you can choose to take up further training in a medical area of interest. This might be obstetrics, mental health, surgery, dermatology, Aboriginal health, addiction medicine, paediatrics, sexual health, emergency medicine or any number of other options. A GP is always learning and growing. Dr. Geoff Spurling, GP and researcher at the University of Queensland, says: “I love that I am never bored and sometimes I feel like I can make a difference for people. I enjoy the relationships with my regular patients and the intellectual intensity of trying to solve quite difficult problems.” 4) A GP provides holistic continuity of care As a GP, you’ll build strong and positive relationships with individuals, families and communities over a long period. It can be incredibly satisfying to help a woman manage her pregnancy and then assist with that child’s health issues over the course of several years, for example. The stability of general practice lets you ‘go the distance’ with patients and create meaningful, trust-based relationships over time. A GP is involved in all phases of patient care from initial consultation to ongoing treatment and recovery. For many GPs, continuity of care is an especially satisfying aspect of the job. 5) General practice can be flexible to fit your lifestyle As a general practitioner, you have more control over when and where you work. Because GPs are in high demand all over Australia, you might find yourself in a busy metropolitan practice, a remote Aboriginal settlement, a slow-paced beach community or a picturesque country town. You have opportunities to work in a variety of locations, and often you can be more flexible with your hours compared to other specialties. Being a GP is more likely to fit around your family commitments and lifestyle the way you choose. 6) You get to treat the whole person, not just the illness General practice enables doctors to prioritise preventative medicine. GP and medical educator Dr Rebecca Lock says: “I see people regularly to keep on top of their medical conditions. My role is to keep people out of hospital and improve their outcomes”. As a patient’s preferred doctor, you become an integral part of their overall health, treating them within the context of their lifestyle and health goals. 7) You can make a massive difference in rural and remote Australia The Australian Government offers substantial financial incentives for rural and remote GP trainees. Taking your skills ‘out bush’ can benefit patients in urgent need and also offer a more relaxed lifestyle for you and your family. In some cases, rural GPs may be the only doctors available in a remote area, providing a crucial community health service. Dr. Fiona McKinnon, who has enjoyed numerous rural placements across Queensland, advises new GPs to “embrace the experience, because more often than not, you’ll probably find it’s the best time of life that you’ll have”. Your GP training provider can tell you more about training and the wealth of opportunities in rural and remote medicine.