Professor Paul Worley

Called to be an advocate
A chat with the inaugural National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Paul Worley

Advice for aspiring rural generalists

Rural practice is great for those who want a career which is wonderfully flexible.

“If you want a combination of being able to see instant results in the care that you provide with long-term relationships, then rural practice is fantastic,” Paul says.

Rural practice is increasingly becoming a profession which can accommodate every type of person as a doctor—moving away from the stereotypical image of a male, English-speaking doctor who works full-time.

“If you’re a junior doctor in a hospital feeling that every day you go to work and you want to make a difference and nobody seems to care or realise what you’re doing, come into rural medicine.”

“Every day you will get feedback from your patients and from your community of the appreciation that they have for the work that you do.”

A big part of forging your own unique and fulfilling career as a doctor, Paul says, is figuring out who you are—your values, beliefs, passions, and goals—and tailoring your career to fit.

“The wonderful thing about general practice and rural generalism is that there are lots of ways of expressing [who you are].”

“If who you are is a city person who is passionate about the underserved in the city, don’t feel any guilt about staying in the city and working with the underserved because we have such a need for amazing GPs in our refugee populations, in our suburbs with intergenerational unemployment.”

“If part of your heritage is thinking about the bush, if part of your heritage is thinking about using not only consulting skills but also procedural skills or additional skills in mental health or palliative care or those sorts of areas, then think about rural practice."


Professor Paul Worley was the inaugural National Rural Health Commissioner.
The statements attributed to him in this article are his own and should not be taken to represent the views of either the Australian Government or the Department of Health.

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