Dr Anthony French, Advanced Trainee in Geriatric Medicine, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane.
Why did you decide to specialise in geriatric medicine?
I chose geriatric medicine because it offers a wide spectrum of practice opportunities. Geriatric medicine specialists are in high demand in both the public and private systems, giving great scope for innovation and career development. Geriatricians can modify and refine their practice to suit their interests and desired work–life balance. Geriatricians are also a very close-knit professional group and a nice bunch of people, so collegiality was an important factor in my choice.
What do you enjoy about the training and specialty?
The care of the elderly is very rewarding and challenging for those not afraid of complexity and lack of clarity. My training is very enjoyable because there are so many opportunities to sample different areas of geriatric medicine and to explore potential practice preferences before committing to them.
What do you dislike or find challenging?
The most challenging thing is time constraints and deciding which areas of geriatric medicine to focus on and which to leave out. Career planning and strategic networking can also prove challenging.
What do you want to do once you’ve completed training?
I plan to go into private practice as a consultant geriatrician with a focus on a few subspecialty areas, specifically orthogeriatrics, perioperative geriatrics and geriatric rehabilitation. I also intend to work towards developing private practice as a more viable and desirable practice model in geriatric medicine overall. If private practice was less daunting, more rewarding and more lifestyle-friendly, hopefully we could increase geriatrician numbers overall and improve the provision of aged care services.
Do you have any mentors?
I have been lucky enough to have spent significant time during my basic and advanced training working with a number of prominent geriatricians who have provided formal and informal mentorship. Through membership of various committees of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, I have met many inspiring geriatricians. I have also been involved in developing practice guidelines, government policy, funding models and future directions for aged care provision through the society.
Have you done (or are you planning) any overseas work or training?
We are lucky in Australia to have the opportunity to practise world-class geriatric medicine with world-class geriatricians, so I have always felt I have more to gain by training here than I could hope to gain overseas. However, I would love the opportunity during my specialty practice to spend time overseas as a researcher and geriatrician.