“I did most of my schooling in Grenada, which is an island of the Caribbean, but then I went to Southampton in the UK for university before moving over here in 2015. I now work and live in Broome.”
The versatility of general practice means there is time to enjoy the leisurely activities that are permitted by sunny WA with her husband, says Lett.
“My husband’s a doctor as well. We weren’t married at the time, but we both found work and jobs here. We both kite surf and like sea or ocean-based sports, so that was the drive for Western Australia. It’s certainly one of the attractions of general practice – the flexibility of lifestyle and the ability to move to different places.”
Now working in an Aboriginal Medical Centre, covering remote regions all across the far northern regions of WA is fulfilling and illuminating, says Lett.
“I travel out to clinics twice a week and one in every eight trips I go to a much further away clinic for about a week. It’s a very privileged role to play in the community and an incredibly diverse part of my training, which serves as a really good foundation to go forward as a qualified GP”, she says.
“There are quite big cultural and lifestyle differences because of those remote areas. The understanding of how vibrant these communities are and how much they really have to offer is so much more when you get to experience it, rather than just read about it as a government statistic.”
While there is some assistance, addressing the contrast in worlds is a learning curve that can only be undertaken first hand, says Lett.
“There’s some provision of training within the AMS itself and there’s some provision of training within our training body, but most of it is experience when you’re on the ground. Trying to be as culturally sensitive and aware as you can and taking every opportunity you can to learn from the patients that you see is key.”
“All of the clinics are staffed with Aboriginal health workers who are incredibly informative and very welcoming into their community, and they can be the most helpful to learn from.”
“I think to be a well-rounded GP in Australia you have to have the experience of treating people from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds, and that includes First Nations and caucasians in a metro area. It’s a really great part of my training and certainly something that people should do if they can.”
“Understanding of how vibrant these communities are and how much they really have to offer is so much more when you get to experience it, rather than just read about it”
Lett has an interest in teaching and has plans for the future to get involved with medical education.
“I had done a fair bit of educational based training and experience before I came into general practice, so that’s part of what I’m trying to move forward; education within the staff and clinics now and with medical students in the future.”
“I’m the Registrar Liaison Officer for my region for WAGPET as well, so I guess all of that is the kind of education and mentorship I need in terms of clinical speciality. I’m really just trying to absorb and learn as much as I can rather than focus on a specific speciality.”
The learning and supportive process is a two way street as an RLO, says Lett.
“I’ve enjoyed being able to provide that support and extra connection between the registrars and the training bodies. It’s also been good to gain an insight into how bodies like GPRA, WorkPac and RACGP work and liaise with each other.”
Not looking in the obvious places and considering the type of work you’ll be doing and life you’ll be living is essential to your professional development, says Lett.
“In terms of trying to pick careers, don’t look at what the registrars are doing, look at what the consultants or the bosses are doing, because that’s where you’re going to spend most of your time”, she said.
“It’s easy to be intimidated by some of the different registrar roles, but really the quality of life, the variety of work and the skills they’re able to practise on a day-to-day basis are really the things to think about when choosing a career. Definitely consider how many different avenues general practice can open up for you.”
These articles, from our GPFirst magazine, are aimed at inspiring the next generation of GPs by sharing real stories of working in practice.