I chose the rural life

Dr Ghazal Ghodosi

My colleagues, friends and patients often ask me this question: “why rural general practice?”

Some people assume that I have been “forced” to “go out bush”—but I chose the rural life.

I am a fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) with Advanced Skills Training (AST) in emergency medicine. I am a rural generalist and I absolutely love what I do.

I completed a number of rural placements while I was a medical student at James Cook University. During this time I experienced first-hand the beauty of rural life and quickly fell in love with it.

Advanced skills in emergency medicine

My fondest memories as a medical student were from my placement in Mount Isa, a city in the Gulf Country region of Queensland.

I loved my time in Mount Isa so much that I went back to complete my AST year in emergency medicine. 

I chose emergency medicine as I knew no matter which rural town I live in, I will need emergency skills—I also have a short attention span.

While most people decide on where they want to live and find out what skills are needed in the area, I wanted to be versatile and was not really sure where I wanted to live in five to ten years time. Having AST in emergency medicine has given me the flexibility to make decisions along the way.

As a GP, emergency medicine relates quite well to my work. There is, without doubt, a patient that will present with, for example, crushing chest pain and you have to manage the emergency within your clinic rooms prior to transferring to the closest hospital.

What it means to be a rural GP

Rural general practice has the appeal of a healthy work-life balance. Rural GPs get to see many interesting cases and we get to build a sense of community.

The rural lifestyle in Mount Isa meant close-knit, life-long friends; it meant regular camping trips to rodeos and camp drafts, and fishing trips to Karumba; it also meant no commute to get to work.

There are challenges too—limited resources being a major issue.

However, I believe it makes me a better doctor. In many rural areas, you do not have the luxury of a lab, CT scan or specialist right next door. I have to fully rely on my clinical skills and knowledge.

In my opinion, the essential skills for a rural GP include resilience, a sense of adventure, and the ability to think outside the box.

I would highly encourage all medical students to consider a career in rural medicine—there is never a dull moment and it is thoroughly rewarding.

Dr Ghazal Ghodosi is a Fellow of the Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine (ACRRM). She currently works as a Senior Medical Officer at Esk Hospital in Queensland.