Rural Generalism has endless possibilities and many different paths to explore. If you are interested in incorporating academic research pursuits into your career, an Academic Post may be an option to consider adding to your Rural Generalist training.
Dr Bo Bi shares her experience of taking up an Academic Post and how she is expressing her passion for preventative medicine through her research project.
Working in primary care was a natural choice
I was born in China and moved to Melbourne when I was 6 years old. I’ve visited almost 40 countries, collecting a range of interests along the way. My motto has always been, ‘try to learn something about everything and everything about something’, (Thomas Huxley). When I graduated The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2015 with an Arts / Medicine double degree, I knew that I wanted (needed) a career with maximum variety and flexibility.
Becoming a General Practitioner (GP) felt like a natural choice for me. I spent a few years at Ipswich Hospital undertaking junior training and Advanced Skills Training (AST) in Paediatrics, then moved to Toowoomba to commence primary care training.
Why I chose an Academic post
When I learned about the Academic Post during my GP orientation session, I saw it as an opportunity to further diversify my work. I am now employed within the Faculty of Medicine Education and Research Teams and have the autonomy to create and deliver curriculum into the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program, design and mark assessments, and arrange interdisciplinary field trips. By the end of my post, I will know the ropes in qualitative and quantitative research, have launched my own mixed methods project, presented my own abstract at conferences, and potentially published my own paper. I am funded to attend regular Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) workshops and national conferences, which I attend alongside a cohort of like-minded registrars.
My passion for preventative medicine
I am passionate about sustainability, equality, public health, and in particular, preventive care. The research topic I’ve chosen this year is obesity prevention and management. This is a much broader social issue that calls for systemic change within many industries, including the food industry, marketing, education, and infrastructure. Within the limited scope of my project, I will focus on how General Practitioners are currently tackling obesity and looking at possible educational and financial strategies to boost primary care.
The balancing act
I now spend two days a week at a busy clinic in Stanthorpe and two and a half days between the UQ Rural Clinical School in Toowoomba and the Medical School in Herston. It is a lot of juggling and travelling, but that suits my itchy feet just fine!
The biggest challenge this year has been learning to balance my clinical work and Fellowship exam study, alongside caring for myself and my relationships. I am very lucky to have an incredibly supportive partner, whom I live with in a beautiful tiny house (yes, on wheels!). Living off-grid on a rural property poses its own challenges, but the simplicity and tranquillity of our lifestyle keeps us grounded.
How to apply
The Academic Post has already enhanced my Rural Generalist training beyond measure. I would encourage any registrar with an interest in education and / or research to apply. It’s a rare opportunity for clinicians to dip our toes into something different in such a well-supported role.
More information on the Academic Post can be found via the ACRRM website.
How you can help
If you are interested in taking part in my research topic, I will be distributing an online survey questionnaire from July 2022, with semi-structured interviews commencing from September 2022. If you would like to participate, request more information, or simply have a chat about the content I have covered, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, stay warm and be kind to one another.
Dr Bo Bi | GP Academic Registrar