“You have a central role in a general practice, you are the one making the decisions with your patient, whereas in the hospital as a resident or intern you just follow the plan that has already been developed.”
“There is also the luxury of time in a general practice – the opportunity to follow-up with patients and develop a relationship with them is really rewarding. When you are working in a hospital you never know what happens to that patient after you treat them.”
“It is this continuity of patient care that is unique to and the most rewarding aspect of general practice. You get to build trust and a relationship with your patients and assist them as they navigate their health journey.”
Serena also enjoys the diversity of general practice.
“General practice encompasses care in a wide range of clinical conditions which keep daily practice exciting because you never know what could walk through the door.”
Serena’s interest in general practice began as a fourth-year medical student at the Monash School of Medicine when she had her first placement at a practice in Woodend, north-west of Melbourne, followed by another rural placement in Mildura.
She has started a six-month placement at a practice in Dandenong in Melbourne’s south-east region as part of her training with the RACGP.
A medical resident with Austin Health and Monash Health for five years, Serena says it is a steep transition from hospital to the practice room.
“In hospitals you are working as part of a large team where the rest of your team are always around you to discuss challenges or ideas. Initially, some registrars could feel isolated when they start their general practice training but learning to make full use of your supervisors and utilise their support and experience is important.”
Serena says that for those training and working in general practice “you can really make it what you want it to be”.
“It is one of the few specialties that provides opportunities to diversify and delve into your special interests such as medical education, dermatology or women’s health. You can find your own niche.”
Serena has a particular interest in palliative care and hopes to complete further training in this field to expand her skills.