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James Cook University’s (JCU) newest GP Medical Educator is on a mission to train quality doctors for Bundaberg. Dr Amanda Kasper said, the community needs an injection of young GPs.
“We need to have young people who are trained in Bundy, who know the locals, know the community and want to stay. I don’t want to see permanent positions filled with temporary doctors, our community deserves continuity of care with long-term family doctors. That is really the heart and soul of general practice,” she said.
The GP’s who have served the Bundaberg community for years are now retiring and there is a need for young doctors to fill these permanent roles, Dr Kasper said.
“At Linden [Medical Centre] where I’m working, we’ve had two full time GPs retire at the beginning of the year which, is a big loss for a practice and its patients. Similar scenarios are happening across the board in Bundaberg,” she said.
“I want to be part of a quality workforce that represent the next generation of GP’s in Bundaberg”.
Her plan to create change is to develop strong working relationships between JCU and GP’s, in order to bridge the gaps between the old and new staff.
Amanda said, she is up for the challenge and ready to continue in the footsteps of past and present experienced, exemplary doctors and educators, in the local Bundaberg community.
She said, “Although, I had big shoes to fill, I’ve been loving it. My big driving force is that I really want to help create and support good local doctors. Fortunately, I’m in a position now where I have the opportunity to do that.”
Amanda completed her JCU Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 2006 and worked in various rural locations across Australia before, settling in Bundaberg.
“I really liked Bundaberg and I met my husband here. We both decided that it was time to start a family and begin general practice training. I was fortunate to receive excellent training by Bundaberg doctors,” she said.
When she completed her Generalist Medical Training (GMT) with JCU, Amanda became the second female GP specialist to work at Linden Medical Centre.
“I went straight into private practice after I completed my GP training and I found a practice that I love in Bundaberg. I work mainly with older doctors, majority of them male and one other female doctor. I could see that there was a need for another female on the team and I wanted to fill that gap,” she said.
In coordination with her work at the private practice, Amanda works as a Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at the Bundaberg Base Hospital.
She said, “I work three shifts a fortnight at the hospital, to keep my acute skills going. The role in the Urgent Care Clinic, is more GP oriented. I supervise the non-urgent emergency side of the hospital which, works really well. When I am on shift I mentor the junior doctors and it also provides an opportunity to bridge gaps between the hospital and private GP systems”.
Amanda credits her career opportunities to living and working in a rural location.
She said, “I don’t think if I were living in Brisbane, I’d have the opportunity to be doing the variety of work that I’m doing at the moment. I have even been able to join the local symphony orchestra!”
“Bundaberg has huge potential, I think it’s really undiscovered and beautiful. It’s a great place to raise the kids, there are good schools and everything is close by.”
Amanda said, she plans on continuing her practice in Bundaberg.
“I really can’t imagine living anywhere else at the moment. I’m the kind of person who always strives to make the most of whatever they’re doing. I really want to use my teaching and supervisory roles to make a difference. I think if, I can influence even just a handful of doctors in my area for the better, then I’ve achieved my goal,” she said.