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FAQs 2018-09-20T09:19:27+00:00

Whether you’re exploring the opportunities
that the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway offers
or you’re already training to become a Rural Generalist,
you’ve probably got a few questions.

The important take home message is: rules change over time and so do your plans. For current QRGP trainees, regular contact with your RGTA and Regional Training Organisation (RTO) is the best way to help you navigate the complex training environment. Our goal is to support you and the delivery of quality clinical services to rural and remote communities in need.

Check out some of the most frequently asked questions about the program:

No. Your career path is up to you. You’re free to change course whenever you like.

Training as a rural generalist actually increases your career options. The Generalist Pathway not only qualifies you for life as a rural generalist, it also sets you up for a career in almost any other medical field. Our Fellows are strongly positioned for a myriad of job opportunities and have gone on to roles in clinical leadership, international aid work, expedition and retrieval medicine and entry into other highly specialised training programs. To date, every Generalist Pathway Trainee or Fellow who has applied to an alternative specialist program has gained entry.

Rural generalists earn a similar salary to other specialists and often reach higher pay levels significantly faster. In fact, our fast track program embedded in The Generalist Pathway allows our interns to achieve senior appointments after three years of commencing the program, often up to doubling their salary in comparison to peers not on the Pathway.
The Generalist Pathway is designed to keep your career options as open as possible. By starting as a rural generalist, you actually open yourself up to more diverse training and skills development than other specialities. At the end of The Generalist Pathway, you can always make your way back to another speciality; the flexibility and diversity of the Pathway’s training is a fantastic way to keep your options open, especially if you aren’t 100% decided on a career speciality yet.
This is not true in most cases. Many Rural Generalists complete anaesthetics advanced skills training but there is a limited availability of anaesthetics training positions statewide. It is expected that Rural Generalist Trainees undertaking anaesthetics advanced skills training are doing so with the intention of delivering elective anaesthetic services in a rural community after training. Trying to use the QRGP as a short cut on the way to anaesthetics specialist training is not fair to genuine Rural Generalist Trainees or to those pursuing specialist training. This behaviour is looked on poorly by both QRGP and the anaesthetics training scheme. A genuine change of career path can and does happen quite successfully.

Here are some more detailed questions that we are often asked:

Our Pathway is open to citizens of Australia and New Zealand and Australian permanent residents who have completed a medical degree from an accredited Australian university, or are in their final year of study. For detailed criteria, please visit our Essential information page.

The QRGP is happy to provide support and vocational guidance to ADF Trainees where a long-term rural engagement is considered likely, however we do not accept direct entry applications from students with ADF commitments.

The training and placement of medical ADF Trainees is coordinated by the ADF and placement at specific locations is required both during training and once Fellowship is achieved. The vast majority of these placement sites are not in rural locations. ADF Trainees have significant service return requirements, which generally do not fit with rural and remote placement.

Interstate graduates are eligible to apply. Refer to the eligibility criteria on the Essential information page or contact the team for more information.

Yes. The QRGP is not the only track to a Rural Generalist career. If you want to pursue a career as a Rural Generalist independently, we recommend you enrol with ACRRM or RACGP for Fellowship training. Here are some things to consider:

  • you will need to be eligible to apply for a general practice training position with Australian General Practice Training (AGPT);
  • you will be subject to the same credentialing process as Rural Generalist Trainees and as such require completion of milestones equivalent to Rural Generalist Medicine Prevocational Certification as well as an accredited advanced skill matched to the needs of the employing hospital;
  • you should consult ACRRM for advice regarding the ACRRM Prevocational Certification process (refer to the ACRRM RPL factsheet on the Forms and guides page for more information);
  • you should consider your preference for vocation vs. location when selecting an advanced skill to pursue;
  • you should seek advice from Rural Generalists in your location of interest, your Regional Training Organisation, College and other contacts.

In order to become a Rural Generalist you will need to obtain:

  • FACRRM which includes an Advanced Specialised Training (AST) post of 12 months duration; or
  • FRACGP plus FARGP, which includes a post of 12 months duration as above and acquisition of abilities and skills specified in ACRRM Curriculum Statements for Obstetrics and Women’s Health (except where the certified AST is in Obstetrics)

If you already have significant experience you should make an application for recognition of prior learning to your College as part of your Fellowship training.

On occasion, the QRGP seeks interest from postgraduate medical officers who may be interested in joining the Pathway. For more information click here.

We’re here to help and are happy to offer support and information to individuals interested in pursuing a career as a Rural Generalist; please contact us with any questions you may have.

This is an individual decision and it is important to note that training through either college will result in you achieving a RG endpoint (FARGP required if pursuing FRACGP without FACRRM) and delivering a valued service to rural and remote communities. The colleges have websites that outline their arguments for why you should choose them and it is worth talking to your senior colleagues about their thoughts on which college to choose.

In the past trainees often signed up for both ACRRM and RACGP but changes to AGPT mean that you
need to make this choice at entry to training and need to pay both fees and sit both entrance exams (as well as pass the individual exams and curriculum). The QRGP does not recommend trainees enrol in both colleges as the limited advantage of doing so is likely to be outweighed by the cost and additional assessments; however, trainees are free to enrol in either or both colleges as they so choose.

For specific information on training endpoints, please visit After The Generalist Pathway.

It is important that trainees join the RTO that covers the region in which they will be completing rural vocational training (ACRRM) or GP terms (RACGP).  There are provisions under the AGPT Rural Generalist Policy 2019 to undertake AST outside of that RTO’s training footprint however the trainee is required to return to their original RTO footprint upon completion of the AST. In cases of specific training opportunities (for example six month placement in an ENT program) the RTO may consider release for training outside of the region if the opportunity is not available within.

Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) is a vocational training program for medical officers wishing to pursue a career in general practice and / or rural and remote medicine in Australia. The AGPT program is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Regional Training Organisations (RTOs). Through AGPT, RTOs deliver training according to college curricula to allow registrars to attain a general practice fellowship. Rural Generalist trainees are required to complete Fellowship of the ACRRM (FACRRM) or RACGP (FRACGP) plus Advanced Rural Generalist Practice (FARGP). Application to AGPT is an essential part of Rural Generalist training. Please review the AGPT Guide for more information.

The introduction of the new AGPT Rural Generalist Policy 2019 provides more flexibility for individualised training pathways. In essence RG trainees will be given six years to complete training. Trainees seeking to spend additional terms in hospitals in PGY3 or those seeking a second AST are supported by the new policy and in discussion with the RTOs it is reasonable for the trainee to expect approval. Also, trainees seeking consolidation time in hospital posts after their AST are supported by the new policy.

Therefore, it is the expectation of the QRGP that most trainees will find that applying for AGPT in their PGY1 year, or at least during PGY2 is the best plan. This makes it easier to ensure prospective accreditation for terms and ASTs and early engagement with the RTO enables longer term training plans to be mapped out and supported.

Trainees wishing to undertake ‘gap year’ like arrangements where they take leave from training for a period of time to travel overseas or away from training positions need approval from the RTO.

More information about AGPT application is available here.

No. There are no contracts associated with quarantined Rural Generalist Intern positions.

Logbooks are no longer being provided in hard copy as ACRRM are no longer accepting hard copy logbooks for fellowship. If you plan to pursue FACRRM we suggest you join ACRRM (Intern/resident membership is reasonably priced) and start logging procedures early on. If you are not planning to follow the ACRRM pathway or are unsure then here is a link to the logbook which you can print and fill out manually.

If in future you decide to follow the ACRRM pathway then you can transcribe the procedures into your electronic logbook. RG workshops, ED terms, rural terms and anaesthetic terms are good terms to try and get the Urgent Care procedures. You need 50% of the urgent care procedures completed to complete Prevocational Certification.

Many hospitals only have the capacity to provide five week terms in the compulsory RG prevocational terms of anaesthetics, paediatrics and O&G. Where less than 10 week terms are undertaken in prevocational training there may be a need for attaining further equivalent experience.

ACRRM have defined what additional training is required if only five weeks of paediatrics/anaesthetics/O&G are undertaken in the first two years in their Fellowship Training Handbook. RACGP have also defined equivalents. If you are only allocated a five week term in a mandatory RG prevocational term, it is important that you review the training requirements for your college and discuss this with your RTO and RGTA.

RRMEO is the ACRRM learning platform. You will need to complete one online module prior to the completion of PGY2 in order to complete Prevocational Certification. You will have access to this if you are an ACRRM member. If you do not plan on joining ACRRM then you can access the teledermatology or teleradiology modules by signing up for free access which is available to trainees in ASGC-RA 2-5 areas. Please contact the team for assistance and information on the requirements for completing the module if you are in this circumstance.

You can become a rural GP in a number of ways and The Generalist Pathway is one option for those who want to pursue this career track. Our Pathway suits rural practitioners in both hospital and GP settings who want to extend the scope of their practice with an advanced skill. Click here for more information on our advanced specialised training offerings.

Yes. Mandated vocational training is a crucial part of completing your generalist training; additional information on the use of professional development leave for vocational training is available here.

Our Advanced Skills Training (AST) gives medical officers the opportunity to enhance clinical practice through 12 months* of focused, specialised training. For more information on AST disciplines available through the Generalist Pathway, please visit the Advanced skills page.

*Surgical AST takes two years to complete.

This is an important decision but it is worth remembering you can always go back after fellowship and do an additional AST if you have changed your mind. Traditionally trainees undertake their AST in PGY3 however there is no requirement for this to be the case. Your decision on which AST and when to undertake it would normally take into account the following factors:

  • A realistic understanding of the training requirements and what the role ‘means’ for you post fellowship
  • Awareness of the likelihood of positions being vacant in the area you plan on living/working once you have finished training
  • Awareness of the lifestyle that practicing your AST normally entails (on-call responsibilities particularly)
  • Consideration of the maintenance of currency and competency (AST skills fatigue quickly if you are not practicing them)
  • If you are set on which AST you want to do then you should consider being geographically flexible. If you are set on the region/town you want to work in then you should consider the AST that community needs.
  • Timing of AST should take into account geographic factors: how many times you want to move yourself or the family and any other family or career factors that will influence your training time.
  • Never underestimate the importance of community general practice as an important part of your training and also as an option for you to help balance your lifestyle needs post fellowship. There is still a significant need in rural and remote communities for excellent generalist community based care. Many RGs have found post fellowship that a role that mixes (or blends) community general practice and hospital SMO role best meets family and lifestyle goals as well as community need.

The QRGP team coordinates a centralised recruitment process for obstetrics, anaesthetics, internal medicine, paediatrics and mental health. Each year applications are taken from RGs and external applicants for training positions throughout the state. Often these applications are quite competitive.

Some training positions can still be allocated through the RMO Campaign where you apply directly to the Hospital and Health Service for the relevant position. It is still possible to apply for training positions in internal medicine, paediatrics and mental health outside of the ‘centralised process’.

The best advice is to discuss your goals and intent with your RGTA and identify the best way to secure a position in your AST discipline of choice.

AST is similar to Registrar training for other disciplines. It is usually undertaken in a provincial hospital and remunerated at PHO level.

In some instances, AST can be undertaken rurally; Indigenous Health AST is often undertaken during rural placement, however, regardless of AST location, a Trainee should be at PHO level unless otherwise negotiated.

After training is complete, you may be offered a Senior Medical Officer (Provisional Fellow) appointment, if employed in a hospital setting. For more detailed information, read the Rural Generalist Medical Officers Positions Guide.

Queensland Health Rural Scholarship Scheme (QHRSS) holders are required to complete the prevocational component (first two years) of Rural Generalist Training to ensure junior doctors feel safe and prepared for rural return of service obligations. Details on this policy can be found here.

No. Only select Queensland hospitals offer training and support towards a career in Rural Generalist Medicine. This allows participating hospitals to offer priority access to additional terms in paediatrics, obstetrics and anaesthetics and additional requirements for the successful attainment of Rural Generalist Medicine Prevocational Certification. Click here for a list of participating hospitals with available intern positions.

Regional Training Organisations (RTOs) are tasked by Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) to deliver general practice registrar training. There are two RTOs in Queensland: Generalist Medical Training (GMT) and General Practice Training Queensland (GPTQ). For doctors already in rural and remote practice, the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) can provide distance education and supervision while they continue to provide general medical services to their community.

Applications are open in early March each year. Click here for specific dates and submissions deadlines.

We’d love to answer any questions you may have about the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway or life as a Rural Generalist.
Please email or call us:
e-mail: rural_generalist@health.qld.gov.au
phone: 1800 680 291