Fraser Coast gets injection of 14 new GPs
FOR doctor Sarah Caporale starting her General Practitioner training in Hervey Bay is literally a feeling of coming home.
Born in the region thenmoving away as a child, the 32-year-old has spent the past seven years working in Brisbane hospitals.
Dr Caporale is one of 14 doctors to begin their path to becoming a GP through James Cook University in the region this week.
The registrar doctors will commence at various regional clinics and hospitals to undertake their three-year Generalist Medical Training to become a qualified specialised GP.
Dr Caporale said personally the choice between popular Brisbane GP training programs and JCU's regional Hervey Bay one was easy.
"My dad has just moved back here so obviously I have a family connection but I've also had friends in the regional program before and they absolutely loved it," she said.
"I've also had friends who are in GP training in the Brisbane area and I have noticed a difference.
"The Brisbane program is still probably fine but they have such a large number of applicants each year, like 100 there versus 30 here, they can't cater to the needs of everyone.
"Working in Brisbane was very stressful, there were lots of long hours and nights and I'm looking forward to day shift."
Another factor for Dr Caporale was the ability to work in clinics specialising in her interests.
"I did a graduate certificate in skin cancer medicine and loved it and I will be working at the Malek Medical Centre in Hervey Bay where one of their doctors is a specialist in skin cancer," she said.
"It isn't just me, I know other registrars in my cohort really interested in women's health who have ended up at practices with a focus on that."
Knowing the area means Dr Caporale can see herself living in the area possibly even after her training is finished.
"Apart from when I was at university, I've always lived in small towns so this is what I am comfortable with," she said.
"It was quite difficult to get out of it which is why I stayed for so long, for me I think it has been an 18 month process.
"I had to do specific courses, for example I had to do a year-long paediatric course and make sure I had the correct rotations like emergency, general and surgery. It just takes time."
While Dr Caporal said she is nervouse she couldn't keep the excitement from her voice at the prospect of getting to know the community in Hervey Bay.
"I was a little bit worried about coming from hospitals where you have a tight knit friendship group with the people you work with to coming to GP and essentially being isolated," she said.
"But orientation was great, the other registrars are friendly and we will all meet up for training once a fortnight.
"There was even a presentation from the council about things to do in the area."
JCU Director of GP training associate professor Peta-Ann Teague said over the past three years the program has produced 28 qualified GPs in Wide Bay alone, of which 10 have either stayed on or moved into the region to work.
"Our doctors will practice across Queensland in regional, rural and remote communities to improve health outcomes where it is needed most," she said.
"We dedicate time and resources to matching applicants with training posts that will benefit their careers as well as the community. The training posts provide the opportunity to develop an extended scope of practice unique to rural and remote locations."