Mentoring the next generation of regional and rural doctors

20th March 2017 11:30 AM
Clinical Associate Professor Rashmi Sharma OAM, discussed mentoring new doctors wanting to specialise in general practice with Alstonville's Dr Tony Lembke, at a seminar in Ballina. Clinical Associate Professor Rashmi Sharma OAM, discussed mentoring new doctors wanting to specialise in general practice with Alstonville's Dr Tony Lembke, at a seminar in Ballina. Supplied

IF YOU were going to fall ill last weekend, then Ballina was the place to be.

The coastal town hosted 30 general practitioner supervisors from across the Northern Rivers, including Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Murwillumbah and Casino, at an intensive professional development workshop to better learn how to mentor a new cohort of GP registrars whom have recently commenced their GP training in the North Coast region.

One of the doctors at the workshop was Dr Tony Lembke, a GP supervisor at the Alstonville Clinic where three registrars are currently training.

Dr Lembke said it is vital to maintain a strong network of accredited GP supervisors across the region to meeting current and future workforce needs.

"Local GPs being involved in training is a way to ensure that new GPs come and work in our communities,” he said.

"Mentoring new GPs is a two-way process, we also learn so much from them.”

Hosted by GP Synergy, the gathering reflected the commitment of local GPs to make sure the region is well placed to attract and keep the next generation of medical professionals.

GP Synergy's north coast regional head of education, clinical associate professor Rashmi Sharma, OAM, explained GP registrars are fully qualified doctors training to specialise as a general practitioner.

"They undertake their training in accredited general practices overseen by GP supervisors who ensure they get the best on-the-job training possible,” she said.

Assoc Prof Sharma said that in her experience, if registrars, and their families, enjoy their time in a community the chances of them staying for the longer term is greater.

"So, we want to ensure that registrars and supervisors on the North Coast receive the support they need,” she said.