I loved training on the Queensland Rural Generalist Pathway; every day was different. Your patients won’t present as a problem list or a discreet issue with a single organ. To deliver the best care to patients in rural areas, you’ll need to have robust training in all areas. Generalist Pathway training allowed me to work in diverse locations while gaining exceptional clinical experience. No other training program can offer as many opportunities for you to tailor your training to suit what you want from your career.
I chose retrieval medicine because it’s like no other field; it encompasses so many fields at once. There’s no specific training that best sets you up for retrieval medicine; it’s unique work. Even emergency work does not cover the breadth of skills and clinical exposure that you need for retrieval work. Because the Generalist Pathway program is so flexible, I think it was the best model to prepare me for independent practice in remote and challenging situations. Delivering babies on dusty airstrips across Western Australia was never part of any other training program that I investigated!
Retrieval medicine allows me to use all my skills in the one environment. No two days are the same. And it combines my love of aviation with my new medical career. I was a flight attendant when I was at medical school. I still get to make coffee for the RFDS pilots today – some things don’t change even though my job title does.
The Generalist Pathway definitely set me up for the diverse and varied career path I’m on now; it provided me with the breadth of training and leadership development to undertake my current role as the Executive Director of Medical Services for South West Hospital and Health Service. I run all medical services in the region and the flying surgical service that delivers surgery and O&G services for the four rural HHS’s in Queensland. I still get to fly as well and regularly do retrieval shifts to keep my clinical skills up. I also still practice in anaesthesia and routinely gas for an elective list each week and occasionally even find myself in the emergency department at Roma Hospital.
The Generalist Pathway allows you to create the career you’ve always wanted and I’m thankful for the opportunities it provided me to challenge myself during my training; I wouldn’t be the doctor I am today without it. If you’re driven and passionate, the Generalist Pathway is a wonderful program that will set you up for an exciting medical career.
Dr Christopher Buck
Executive Director of Medical Services
South West Hospital and Health Services