Postcard 1 from St George
Dr Katya Groeneveld is a GP Ambassador based at Gold Coast Hospital undertaking a PGPPP placement at St George July to August 2010. Having been in her placement for a couple of weeks, Katya has provided us with some early insight into her experience so far...
St George is a charming rural town in the Western Downs of Queensland with a population of approximately 2500. Thriving industries include cotton, wool, beef and wheat production as well as small-scale tourism, which together provide important contributions to both the local and state economy.
My adventure began two weeks ago, when I packed up my car and made the scenic 7-hour drive west to St George from my home on the Gold Coast. After only two weeks I am feeling extremely settled and content with both my working and social life in St George. My work responsibilities include the care of private patients at St George Hospital and for the majority of my time, consulting in the St George Medical Centre. In the general practice setting, I have become accustomed to the diverse range of presentations. I take much pleasure in drawing upon a broad range of skills and knowledge in optimizing patient management. Certainly there have been some obstacles to tackle, but I am extremely privileged to be well supported by my GP supervisor, Dr Pam Turnock.
Dr Turnock is a truly exceptional doctor with over thirty years experience in rural practice. Dr Turnock has an outstanding array of specialized skills and knowledge, which have equipped her to face the many challenges in rural practice with both confidence and competence. Her remarkable compassion is reflected by her unyielding devotion to the care of her patients. Dr Turnock is indeed one of the most respected figures in both the local community as well as the wider medical profession. In 2003 she was rightfully honoured with an Order of Australia in recognition of her hard work and commitment to rural medicine.
On the social front, the community of St George is one that embraces you with much warmth and hospitality. There are several local pubs and restaurants to enjoy a nice meal and a drink with friends after work and on weekends. I am also keeping up appearances at the local gym, the golf course, tennis courts and on morning walks along the banks of the picturesque Balonne River.
This weekend I attended my first ‘B&S ball’ at nearby Nindigully Pub, which is the longest established pub in Queensland. As many may be aware, the modern day ‘B&S ball’ shuns all the formalities of strict black tie, a gourmet three-course meal, and a classical string quartet. I suppose the best way to describe the experience is “anything goes”, because as the evening progressed there was no end to the comical ‘fun and games’ that transpired.
My social calendar for the months ahead includes the St George Races, Polocrosse Carnival and Campdraft. I also plan to venture out to some of the neighboring towns to gain more of a feel for the surrounding Western Downs.
Although I am only two weeks into my PGPPP, I am feeling extremely positive about my experiences in general practice. I would highly recommend the PGPPP to any doctor who is currently brooding over their potential career pathway. The PGPPP gives a unique insight into working life in general practice that cannot be appreciated from the ‘comfort zone’ of the hospital. In my role as GP ambassador at Gold Coast Hospital I will certainly be keen to share my experiences on my return to encourage my colleagues to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. At the risk of using a cliché, it is all too true that “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, so apply for a PGPPP and open your mind to the wonderful world of general practice!