Dr Daniel Mogg


The essence of compassionate care and holistic healing

In the serene suburbs of Canberra, Dr Daniel Mogg, the newly-appointed Medical and Training Advisor at General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), exemplifies the essence of compassionate care and holistic healing.

Daniel currently works in the ACT at a practice in the outer suburbs of our nation’s capital, splitting his time between clinical practice, working at the Australian National University (ANU) Medical School doing both teaching and research, and now at GPRA helping to drive forward medical education and resources for its almost 20,000 members.

With a journey as diverse and layered as the patients he serves, Daniel’s journey as a medical professional is a testament to his resilience, compassion, and the transformative power of community-oriented medicine.

Daniel’s roots trace back to Toowoomba, Queensland. However, it was the vibrant city of Canberra where his journey truly unfolded.

“I moved to Canberra 20 years ago to study psychology,” he said.

“I did that for a little while but then got a job in the Commonwealth public service where I worked for almost 10 years.

“I got to work in a couple of different departments and even at Parliament House in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“I had some amazing experiences but after that decided to give medicine a go.”

Indeed, fate had a different path carved for him. Encouraged by the gentle nudges of a mentor and the whispers of his own aspirations, Daniel embarked on a transformative journey into medicine.

“I stayed in Canberra and went to the ANU Medical School,” he explained.

“During medical school, and even afterwards in my junior doctor years, I got to spend some time working and studying down on the NSW South Coast but kept coming back to Canberra.

“I always had an interest in helping people, hence my initial foray into psychology.

“Then when I was around 30, I had a number of friends who decided to take a risk and make some big career changes of their own.

“I also had a mentor who I had worked with over a number of years who just happened to be a doctor, and he kept trying to nudge me in the direction of medicine.

“Eventually I thought why not sit the GAMSAT and see if I can get in. Fast forward 10-11 years and here I am now – a newly-fellowed GP.”

The transition from the corridors of bureaucracy to the sanctuaries of healing wasn’t devoid of challenges.

“Going back to study medicine was challenging in lots of ways,” he said.

“I didn’t have a science background, so I had to quickly get up to speed to sit the GAMSAT and then eventually get through medical school.

“I had also been working for a number of years in the public service and was used to feeling a sense of competence in what I did, not to mention earning a decent salary.

“I was fortunate enough to have a really supportive partner, but it was a big adjustment to feeling like I was right back at the beginning, not knowing anything, and not earning anything.”

Yet, every obstacle he faced became a stepping stone towards his true calling – general practice.

“Right throughout medical school I was interested in a career in general practice,” he said.

“I loved the idea of getting to know patients over time and following along with them on their journey – not just meeting them once or twice to manage a certain problem and then never see them again.

“I also liked the holistic nature of general practice, getting to think about everything, not just one system or symptom.

“I also loved community-based medicine, as opposed to hospital-based medicine – being in the community that I am serving and seeing people closer to their real lives.”

For Daniel, being a GP transcends the realms of diagnosis and treatment – it’s about weaving a tapestry of trust and understanding with his patients.

“The most rewarding aspect for me is really getting to know my patients and their families,” he said.

“Not only is it a nice feeling, but it also helps me be a better doctor to see more of the pieces of the puzzle when I am trying to help with a health problem.“

Curiosity, creativity, and a non-judgmental attitude are the pillars which uphold Daniel’s method of practice.

“Often people will present in general practice with vague symptoms or an ‘undifferentiated presentation’,” he said.

“We need to be curious to peel back the layers, and try and help solve some of the mysteries.

“The breadth of what we deal with and the settings we work in can also be incredibly diverse, not to mention the patients we work with.

“To take a truly patient-centred approach, sometimes we need to be very creative.

“And finally, we see all sorts of people, from so many walks of life, with so many weird and wonderful issues.

“The only way they will all feel comfortable enough to seek our advice is if we are non-judgemental.”

Now, as the new Medical and Training Advisor at GPRA, Daniel’s vision extends beyond the confines of his clinical practice.

“My role is to help GPRA develop medical education and exam support resources that are up to date, relevant and useful for future GPs,” he said.

“My immediate goal is to update the GPRA books that GPRA is famous for.

“In the long term though, I want to help make GPRA the first place that future GPs go to when looking for support for their exams and training.”

In the tapestry of his career, amidst the triumphs and tribulations, one patient’s journey stands as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of compassionate care.

Daniel recently had an experience with a patient which, although wasn’t a “nice” experience, really confirmed for him that he was doing a job he loved.

Last year, Daniel diagnosed a patient with glioblastoma multiforme – an aggressive type of brain cancer with a very poor prognosis.

“I had known this patient for some time and it was a really difficult diagnosis to deliver to someone,” he said.

“He was immediately linked in with multiple specialists, however it didn’t take long to realise that for this man, with his particular comorbidities, a palliative approach was the best one for him.

“He would come to see me regularly, often with his wife, and over the following months I got to know them both very well.

“Apart from some symptom management, there was very little ‘medicine’ that I offered this patient.

“Instead, I became more of a sounding board, a confidante, someone to cry, and even laugh with.

“Sometimes I could offer advice. Often, all I could do was bear witness as this man approached death.

“For me, there was a profound lesson in just how healing our time, attention and presence can be.

“I felt very sad when he finally passed away but also relief that his suffering had ended.

“Mostly, I felt incredibly privileged that I was able to be there during an incredibly difficult time for him and his family.”

And where does Daniel see himself as a health professional in 10 years’ time?

“I want to keep up the ‘portfolio career’ that I have recently started,” he said. “That is, dividing my time between clinical work, research, and teaching.

“I love working with patients and doing that traditional GP work, but I also want to keep working in some of these other areas so that I can help make positive changes in people’s lives in other ways.”

If you want to reach out to Daniel, you can email him at daniel.mogg@gpra.org.au

Canberra photo by Khiem Luu