Rural General Practice, Dungog NSW

I completed my elective over summer in my hometown of Dungog NSW in a rural general practice. The general practice has four General Practitioners (GPs) - three qualified, one registrar - and either one or two practice nurses each day, a practice manager and three reception staff at any time.

I had an excellent experience and gained a lot of insight, not only into the clinical practice of GPs but also into the nature of rural practice which involves a higher level of familiarity with patients and their families and community interaction and engagement which has both upsides and down.

I had ample opportunity to parallel consult, forming my own impressions, planning and conducting appropriate examinations and investigations and subsequent management plans, including introduction to prescribing under the PBS - all under the supervision of highly experienced and skilled GPs. 

Procedurally I was able to perform ample amounts of venepuncture, skin punch and excisional biopsies, cryotherapy as well as venesection and ear syringing. The town has a 15-bed nurse-run hospital with an Emergency Department (ED). The GPs share a roster to be on call for emergencies and perform rounds when needed. As a part of my placement I had the opportunity to assess patients in the ED supported by nursing staff, forming impressions and management plans that were communicated to the GP for review.

I would highly recommend this placement to anyone wanting rural insight and the opportunity to increase your diagnostic and management skills.