Dr Brendan O’Dea has enjoyed his time training in a rural community and has appreciated the opportunity to cultivate a work/life balance.
He came to general practice later in his career after starting out as a physiotherapist, and loves that he can now help his patients on a broader range of issues.
Q: Why did you decide to become a GP?
A: My working life started as a physiotherapist. As part of my role then, I worked with the Bunbury Pain Management Program. I found many of these patients were suffering and I might be able to assist them more as their doctor rather than their physiotherapist. This led me to do the GAMSAT and I haven’t looked back since.
Q: You undertook majority of your training in the South West region. What made you want to make the move to Bunbury?
A: I lived and worked in the South West prior to medicine. I was a physiotherapist in Bunbury and I lived in Donnybrook. It is a great part of the country to live. I had to move back to Perth to for seven years. This included the degree and some time working in tertiary hospitals. I jumped at the chance to return to the South West to complete my GP training
Q: What is like living in Bunbury?
A: Bunbury is classified as a city but it feels like you are living in a large country town. It is small enough that you can easily get to know the other medical professionals in the area. As a GP, this is beneficial as you know all the specialists in the area and this is helpful when referring patients. Bunbury is in a coastal location with beautiful beaches and there are plenty of amenities like restaurants, shopping centres and sporting facilities. Nevertheless, if you are missing the city, it is only approximately a two-hour commute away. Alternatively, you can drive further down south and explore the popular Margaret River wine region.
I highly recommend GP training in the Bunbury region as it is a fantastic opportunity to cultivate a work/life balance.
Q: What were the challenges of rural GP training?
I have been lucky working at a well-supported practice. The main challenges for me have been difficult cases rather than any geographical or administrative challenges. Dr Foster and Associates was established in 1947 and has a reputation for having excellent doctors and medicine. Patients with complex care needs often gravitate to us. Complex cases in the GP setting can be difficult but also rewarding at the same time.
Bunbury has access to many services including pathology, radiology and interventional radiology and a number of specialist services. There are still a number of services lacking that require input from Perth-based specialists including neurology, pain management and allergy and immunology. This creates a challenge as the wait times are often months.
Q: What was your best day at your training facility, Dr Fosters and Associates?
A: My first day was the best. Upon arriving, I was taken to my own consulting room with my name on the door. For me, that was when I knew I had achieved my goal of becoming a GP!
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