When I studied medicine I wanted to become a paediatrician and so I did a doctorate in paediatric immunology.


That was certainly interesting, but it was very specialised and the clinical work I did only reflected a very narrow field in health and medicine. Professionally, I was more attracted to the complexity of the whole person care GPs offer on a daily basis to their patients, literally from cradle to grave.
 
So, when I completed my internship in Germany I applied for a post on a GP vocational training scheme in the UK. I completed my training there in 2006 and moved to Australia a year later. I now work as a rural GP with great colleagues in the beautiful Huon Valley in Tasmania. Every day at the practice is so rewarding, personally and professionally, I can’t think of any better medical speciality. 
 
It may sound a bit unusual, but one of the most rewarding experiences of my career was working with a palliative care patient. I looked after her for many years and unfortunately had to diagnose her with simultaneous breast cancer and lung cancer. She lived in the house she was born in, on a road that carried her surname and she wanted to die in her home, surrounded by her family – and me as her GP. It was a very humbling experience. 
 
The thing I like most about working as a GP is the diversity of my patients and different narratives my patients present. It always fascinates me. There’s never a dull moment. My colleagues are all very different in terms of their personalities and interests, so working with them and my patients is a constant positive challenge. I’m a Clinical Professor at the University of Tasmania and doing research and teaching the next generation of doctors adds to the breadth that general practice offers. So, what’s there not to like?
 
Well there are some challenges, and in particular time management and dealing with unnecessary bureaucracy can be tricky. Navigating my patients through a very complex health system is often not straightforward. We GPs are all very pragmatic and we often don’t understand why other areas in health are unnecessarily complex and don’t appear to be patient-centred at all. There’s always room for improvement and it’s great to see that GPs make more and more contributions to improving the health system on a local, state and federal level. 
 
If I had one piece of advice for patients it would be to try and find time to exercise for 30 minutes every day. It does not matter whether you walk, jog, run, swim or do Yoga or other relaxation techniques. Don’t allow any excuses from skipping the daily 30-minute sessions, make it a priority.