The first in her family to study medicine, Dr Amy Rosser, a Gubbi Gubbi woman from south-east Queensland, knew she would be a doctor since she was young. After university, Amy did three years of surgery before shifting to GP training. She has been based in the Northern Territory (NT) for the past six years.
The first in her family to study medicine, Dr Amy Rosser, a Gubbi woman from south-east Queensland, knew she would be a doctor since she was young. After university, Amy did three years of surgery before shifting to GP training. She has been based in the Northern Territory (NT) for the past six years.
Amy has been working in the NT, mostly in a community called Yuendumu, for the past six years. She works for a government-run clinic based in Alice Springs. At first, she travelled to a number of different remote clinics, now she is based at one almost 300 km from Alice Springs.
‘Some of our clinics have doctors one or two weeks a month, but Yuendumu is big enough to have a doctor all the time, and I really liked the continuity, so I am just out here now. I drive out on Monday and then drive back on Thursday, then we have a day in the office for catching up on paperwork and some education from hospital specialists on Fridays.’
Yuendumu itself has a population of about 1000 people. The people are Warlpiri, with most speaking English as a second, or third or fourth language.
‘It is lots of primary care, but we get a fair amount of emergencies, as well including a fair amount of fly-outs. We see a lot of things that you just do not see in the cities.’
‘We have got the highest rates of rheumatic heart disease in the world, a lot of kidney disease and complications. I finished my FARGP [Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice] last year, and my community project was related to diabetes. In Yuendumu, 33% of the over 18s have type 2 diabetes, so that is a pretty large amount and we get a lot of secondary complications from that.’
Amy took quite a roundabout way to remote practice. She originally wanted to be a surgeon and work in the city.
‘I realised reasonably early that surgery was not for me, so I took a year off and did some locuming and enrolled in a Masters of Public Health. There was a lot of public health and preventive medicine discussed, which ultimately led me to sign up for GP training, and I loved it.’
‘One of the subjects I enjoyed was an expedition medicine course, and I had applied to work as a doctor in Antarctica. I didn’t end up getting the position and was advised to get some remote experience. I applied for the most remote job I could find in the middle of Australia and have been here ever since.’
‘I didn’t have any rural experience when I got here, but there are always lots of people to ask for help.’
‘The local hospital and the specialists are always happy to take questions. In Central Australia we have got two systems. We have got the remote outreach consultation, so you can call and speak to experienced remote GPs when you are out in the bush, and then we have got the MRaCC [Medical Retrieval and Consultation Centre], which is for evacuations, and you are speaking to an emergency and retrieval physicians, so there’s plenty of support.