Being a rural doctor is a challenging yet rewarding job, not least in a location like Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia.
Often lauded as the 'jack-of-all-trades, master of none', rural doctors hold their collective heads up high, proud to be true generalists...not narrow-focus partialists (or single-organ specialists). A rural doctor must be happy to be not just a primary care expert, but also to be competent in internal medicine, to perform minor surgery, to deliver a baby and to give an anaesthetic. Moreover, rural doctors often operate with minimal back-up such as easy access to blood tests, ultrasounds and CT scans.
As the emergency physicians at the excellent 'Life In the Fast Lane' emergency medicine website say :
"GP proceduralists in remote Australia are what most doctors were maybe eighty years ago — and what most of us dreamed of being when we went into medical school: having a baby? They’ll deliver it. Need an operation? They’ll gas you down (and they might even chop your leg off too). Got some bizarre disease no one’s ever heard of and you’re in the middle of nowhere? No worries, they’ll sort it out. You name it, if it has to be done, they’ll do it. These doctors are the princes of our profession."
So, in this blog the KI Docs (mostly frogs, not princes) discuss issues of relevance to rural docs Australia-wide. Whereas Broome Docs, LITFL and Resus.me bring you the latest in gnarly case discussions and critical appraisal of the literature, this blog discusses some of the other factors involved in rural medicine - skills maintenance, networking, 'getting things done' and some of the common problems and solutions in rural medicine.
I'll leave the clever stuff to people like Casey and Cliff!