LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES: Rural medicine offers many benefits to young practitioners.
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES: Rural medicine offers many benefits to young practitioners. Think Stock

Health care provides fruitful career pathways

HEALTH care remains one of the largest employment sectors in the country, and based on past growth and future demand, should remain so for the foreseeable future.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures place more than 1.4 million workers in the sector as at November last year - an increase of more than 45,000 in the preceding 12 months.

While demand for healthcare professionals will remain strong in regional and metropolitan areas, rural and remote locations will likely see greater demand - or at least greater difficulty in filling positions, due to the isolated nature of the regions.

However, as rural generalist Matthew Van Gent has learned, working in a rural location makes for a very rewarding professional and personal journey.

Matthew works as a senior medical officer (provisional fellow) in Roma, as part of Queensland Health's Rural Generalist Pathway.

Matthew said he and his wife had found the move to Roma simple.

"It's just a seven-minute walk to work, and my wife and I have more time to relax and appreciate life," he said.

Which isn't to say practising rural medicine is laidback or boring. Far from it.

"The learning opportunities in Roma are incredible, I'm remunerated very generously, and the responsibility and demands of this job obliterate any thoughts of boredom or complacency," Matthew said.

"At any time during the week, there may be an elective or emergency C-section, an appendicectomy, or removal of ectopic pregnancy," he said.

With obstetricians, a surgeon and a gynaecologist in town, the specialist said there was "ample" opportunity to practise local and general anaesthesia. "A dental list helps me maintain skills in nasal intubation, and an ophthalmology list is the chance to advance my skills in regional blockade of the eye under expert supervision," he said.

"The opportunities for a budding GP obstetrician are equally diverse here."

Applicants for the Rural Generalist Pathway must hold Australian or New Zealand citizenship or Australian permanent residency status.Applications for rural generalist intern positions in 2015 open on March 10, 2014 and close March 21, 2014.

For more information visit health.qld.gov.au/ruralgeneralist.

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