FOR Dr Lauren Cone, working as a rural General Practitioner (GP) is not just a career, it’s a way of life.
A way of life that the Gunnedah-turned-Tamworth doctor wants to share with others in her profession.
Dr Cone, who is the Clinical Dean at the Peel Clinical School with the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health, is encouraging more doctors to “come and have a go” at working in rural areas.
“As a rural doctor you’re very much dealing with the coalface,” Dr Cone said.
“We tend to deal with a greater variety of cases but also are able to deliver a lot more consistent level of care.”
The clinical dean said working in rural areas is a great way for doctors to further their careers.
“There is a misconception that working in the country is not a progressive move,” she said.
“That’s not true at all, there are plenty of very influential doctors that are based in rural areas, especially around our region.”
Dr Cone said teamwork plays a major role in rural health care.
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“I’d say teamwork plays a bigger role when working in rural areas,” she said.
“We have a great relationship with the hospital and that’s due to having to pull together a lot more and working together.”
The Tamworth doctor said an aspiring rural doctor could expect “variety” in their day-to-day work.
“There is a lot of diversity when working in a rural area,” she said. “You get to do a bit of everything, which if you are looking to broaden your professional scope, is only a good thing.
“As well as diversity, working in a rural area also allows you to connect in a very meaningful way with your patients.
“I have several generational patients now and I know doctors in cities would have them too, but not as frequently as the country.”
Dr Cone said one of the major benefits of working in rural areas is that there is always opportunity.
“The opportunity is there,” she said. “If you want to broaden your scope professionally then working in regional health is a great way forward.
“As well as the lifestyle benefits you will get great ‘hands on’ experience working in the country and be part of something bigger.”
Dr Cone is encouraging anybody interested in working in a rural area to reach out and “have a go”.
“I’d definitely say come and give it a try,” she said.
“I’m quite often contacted by people that are interested in a tree change and I always encourage them to give it a go and get in touch with us.”
The Tamworth region will mark the beginning of new year of medical education this week, with around 40 medical students undertaking their studies with Dr Cone at the Tamworth Education Centre.