Dr Claudia Collins is a Senior Medical Officer with the Rural Generalist Pathway in Longreach, Queensland. She hopes to sit her fellowship exams for the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) next year
Why did you decide to become a rural generalist?
I always knew I didn’t want to live and work in a big city, and I was trying to build my “dream job”, which included all the areas of medicine in which I had a special interest: acute and emergency medicine, women’s health and primary care. Rural generalism ticked all the boxes.
What have you loved about the rural generalist training program?
I love the huge variety of skills and broad range of knowledge that I need to acquire to fulfil my training and be capable in my role. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the chance to do an advanced specialist training year in obstetrics as part of rural generalist training.
What have been the main challenges?
It’s a challenge to work full-time at Longreach Hospital while also providing general and obstetrics on-call cover, trying to maintain my study and training, and still find the time to take some time off so my partner, who lives on the coast, at least remembers vaguely what I look like! It’s tough at times but hugely fulfilling knowing the life I am working towards is just around the corner.
What advice do you have for other young doctors choosing a career path?
Keep an open mind. You never know what aspects of medicine will appeal to you and what amazing skill sets you can combine into a fulfilling, useful career. Rural generalism has something for everyone. I don’t know many other jobs where you can go from completing a caesarean section in the morning, to doing skin excisions, immunisations and mental health follow-ups in general practice in the afternoon, and then be called to the hospital for a category 1 resuscitation at night.
What do you plan to do when you finish the training program?
I plan to continue working as a rural generalist. I’d like to spend some time with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Outreach work also appeals to me. I have always wanted to do a stint with an aid agency such as Médecins sans Frontières. All may become a reality with the great range of skills and experience I am cultivating as part of my ACRRM training.
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