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FAQs 2020-01-24T10:03:16+10:00

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, expedition and retrieval medicine and entry into other highly specialised training programs.

Rural generalists earn a similar salary to other specialists and often reach higher pay levels significantly faster.

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 choose to pursue additional speciality qualification and 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. Most 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.

Not via undergraduate entry. The QRGP’s intern recruitment process is subject to Queensland Health recruitment guidelines which specify that applicants must hold Group A (Queensland university graduate with Australian / New Zealand citizenship or Australian permanent residency) or Group B (interstate or New Zealand university graduate with Australian / New Zealand citizenship or Australian permanent residency) status.

You may be eligible to apply to the QRGP via postgraduate entry if a recruitment campaign is held in the year/s you’re eligible to apply. More information is available here.

Yes. The QRGP is not the only conduit to a Rural Generalist career. If you want to pursue a career as a Rural Generalist independently, we recommend you discuss your interest further with ACRRM or RACGP.

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.

No. There are no contracts or penalties associated with Rural Generalist training.

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.

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: 1800 680 291

You will receive an email with instructions on how to access and update your logbook prior to commencing your internship.

You need to complete 80% of the procedures in the QRGP Logbook by the end of your PGY2, regardless of which college you want to train to fellowship with. If you choose to train with ACRRM you will receive access to their online logbook when you commence training towards fellowship. Some items may be transcribable from the QRGP Logbook so have a look when you’re granted access and take advantage of that if you can. RACGP doesn’t require a logbook for fellowship training.

Take advantage of everyday opportunities to log your procedures. It is especially important that you remember to log your skills at workshops (such as Rural Generalist Training Workshops) as you’ll find there are quite a few procedures you can get signed off at these educational events.

Many hospitals 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 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.

You will be invited in January of the year you commence your internship to enrol via the Queensland Health iLearn e-learning platform. The Module must be completed by November of your PGY2. The team will automatically be notified when you have completed the Module through the iLearn system.

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

Advanced Skills Training (AST) gives medical officers the opportunity to enhance clinical practice through 12 months* of focused, specialised training in disciplines of need. For more information, 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 consider 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 practising your AST normally entails (on-call responsibilities particularly)
  • Consideration of the maintenance of currency and competency (AST skills fatigue quickly if you are not practising them)
  • If you are set on which AST you want to complete, you should consider being geographically flexible. If you are set on the region/town you want to work in, 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 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 however, regardless of AST location, a Trainee should be at PHO level unless otherwise negotiated.

After training is complete, a number of different position types may be available. For more detailed information, read the Rural Generalist Medical Officers Positions Guide.

Regional Training Organisations (RTOs) are tasked by Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) to deliver general practice registrar training. There are two RTOs in Queensland: James Cook University General Practice Training (JCUGPT) 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.

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.

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. Both colleges have extensive information about their training program on their website.  You may wish to speak with your senior colleagues about their thoughts and / or experience.

For specific information on training endpoints, please visit here.

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 AGPT Rural Generalist Policy 2019 provides more flexibility for individualised career plans. RG trainees can take up to six years to complete training and flexibility now exists to spend additional terms in a hospital setting in PGY3 or undertake a second AST where deemed appropriate.

Given this flexibility, it is the expectation of the QRGP that most trainees will apply to AGPT by no later than PGY2 (for commencement in  PGY3). This makes it easier to ensure prospective accreditation for terms and AST and early engagement with an RTO enables longer term training plans to be mapped out and supported in collaboration with the QRGP.

More information about AGPT application is available here.

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.