Exposure to rural healthcare has been the highlight of medical school to date: A message from Sarah Bresnehan, GPSN National Chair 2023
I hope everyone has had a refreshing break and is settling back into the rhythm of medical school for semester two. It certainly took me a week or so to adjust into placement, but it feels good to return to the swing of things.
For GPSN, this annual edition of our newsletter focuses on the importance of rural general practice. General practice and rural medicine go hand in hand as primary care is even more depended on in rural settings than it is in metro regions. I hope this annual newsletter from the GPSN gets you thinking about the opportunities, highlights and challenges of rural medicine. For myself, rural placement has been the most rewarding placement thus far. It’s where I’ve learnt the most and been able to cement procedural skills that can be hard to teach in a classroom setting. As someone who had never considered rural or regional practice as a future goal going into medical school, I highly recommend seeking out at least one opportunity to undergo placement outside of a metro site. You never know until you try!
GPSN Cultural Immersion Trip – a big success
Our 2023 Cultural Immersion Trip held at the Yarrawarra Aboriginal Culture Centre took place at the start of July. We got involved in screen printing, damper making and a Bush Tucker Medicine walk, to name just a few of the rewarding activities provided. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Alex Yeoh and Anton Lu for the hours they spent organising such a worthwhile and rewarding experience. The trip also felt extra special because of the efforts of Lucy Schulz, who is our WSU GPSN Vice Chair. On behalf of all who attended, thank you for revealing to us the area you call home. I was humbled by this experience and feel lucky to have met an amazing group of like-minded students from a number of different universities across Australia.
Our GPSN statewide events kick off
In late July, I attended the NSW & ACT GPSN First Steps event held at The University of Notre Dame in Sydney – and it was a great success! This annual event is designed for preclinical students and involves a day of workshops and Q&A panels. For those who attended, I hope you were able to learn more about the general practice speciality and were able to sharpen your clinical skills. This event marked the first of our many State events for this year. The purpose of these events is to give a small glimpse into what training and practising as a general practitioner is like, and to link the specialty to the knowledge we gain in medical school. It was because of events like these, held by the GPSN, that I felt confident to suture and perform otoscopy during my general placements. Without these GPSN experiences, I would have been mortified when on my first day of rural placement I was asked to suture back together a mangled ear. As it was, we sent him home with an auricle that anyone would be proud of!
GPSN Leadership Council
This month also marks the calendar of our leadership summit, open to all national and local club leaders. Our speaker focus this year is on subspecialties, areas of interest, and further training opportunities within general practice. The second portion of this night, alongside work on advocacy, is where local club chairs will showcase what they’ve been able to accomplish at their university so far this year. This event is a unique opportunity in that GPSN leaders across the country will be able to meet, network, and learn from each other. Stay tuned for our next GPSN newsletter where I’ll be able to give you an update from this space.