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Thursday Island - the place to be, according to GP registrar Dr Marlow Coates, who has become a ‘Jack of All Trades’ thanks to his placement.
He said he uses a full spectrum of patient care practices due to the limited medicine available.
“It’s your responsibility to deal with patient stabilisation, workup, management, ward care and discharge planning and then follow-up after discharge in the community and ongoing healthcare. It's wonderful to be involved at every level.”
“We retrieved a very sick Papuan infant from one of our northern islands. The child required intensive management and eventual intubation in the helicopter on the tarmac prior to further retrieval to Townsville.
“The whole case from initial phone call to handover to Royal Flying Doctor Service took all night. I felt privileged to be able to provide the service and be a small part of a team that saved this child life. They flew home a week later, completely well. Not many jobs provide that opportunity,” said Coates.
“You have to navigate the logistics of phone consults with patient’s miles away on other islands, who may require retrieval to Thursday Island for workup and care, or GP management from a distance.”
“I tailored my Advanced Skill with Thursday Island in mind as my next location. I knew that
In his spare time,
“Work keeps me busy. But as soon as there's some downtime, there's always something fun going on.
“Despite the long hours, I get to spend quality time with my wife and daughter, and seeing her grow into an island girl has been amazing. She's already got a long list of Aunties and Uncles who are helping raise her in our small community.
“Perhaps, the most relaxing activity is sitting around our homemade fire pit, on summer evenings, looking out over the water with family and good mates,” he said.
“I'm not a city boy, and remote doctors are GP 'Jack of all trades' who still get to practice a great breadth of medicine.”
“I got to go to rural locations that had solid teams and great support. It consolidated my desire to become a rural and remote doctor.”
“There are only a few specialties that provide the level of rewarding experiences a GP gets.
“I think all the rural and remote health services in Queensland offer a job, a lifestyle, and a beautiful location. Queensland has such a great range of climates and landscapes, and as doctors, we have the option to not only visit, but live and work and become part of those communities if desired.”
“GMT is working practically with registrars to get them through training, and helping to overcome sometimes arduous roadblocks.
“The training has been fantastic and continues still. Working remotely is complex and often difficult, but very rewarding. The skills required rurally are broad and there's always something new to learn whether it be office-based, procedural, cultural, or logistical.”