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Redland Hospital is the start of the country road for doctors training on the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway.
Dr Justin Azzopardi is one of five rural generalist trainees in his second year, alongside five interns at Redland Hospital undertaking training, experience and exposure to multiple specialties which will be invaluable when he takes up a role in a regional setting.
"I haven’t had a placement in the rural setting yet. This is my end goal but I am focussed on making sure I have adequate training before I go out there," Dr Azzopardi said.
"Ideally you do more training in one of the speciality areas and I would like to head down the path of anaesthetics so I can be better prepared for a rural placement."
Rural generalist training at Redland Hospital involves 5-10 week rotations through specialist areas in medicine, surgery, obs-gynae, paediatrics and emergency offered as a framework to ensure adequate training for general practice.
"Redland Hospital offers good clinical exposure to make you a well-rounded doctor and it is this training that is so essential to prepare you for the diversity of what will come your way in the rural setting," he said.
Another opportunity for trainees across Queensland is the Queensland Junior Doctors Relieving Program which sends junior doctors from metropolitan training hospitals to backfill experienced GP’s from the rural setting who are on leave.
Dr Azzopardi said the great foundation of training offered at Redland and the framework of the Rural Generalist Pathway is essential to skills development, especially considering the knowledge gap for any trainee filling the shoes of a rural GP with 30 years’ experience.
"In a situation where you are on placement at 2am with a very unwell baby, and you know you only have five weeks of exposure to paediatrics from training, the Pathway framework and the network of clinical support we have from our base hospital makes all the difference in developing confidence as a generalist and ultimately having a good experience in the rural setting," he said.
"I grew up in a rural setting and it certainly offers a positive experience with a broad network of support, both clinical and community, when challenges arise."