Spending time with the world’s oldest living culture as a GP offers the chance to make a real difference when it comes to the health of Indigenous Australians.
Becoming a doctor in Australia is a long and strenuous process, and certainly not for the faint of heart. To pursue a career in medicine, candidates need to finish Year 12 and graduate from a Bachelor’s Degree, which usually takes four years. From there, one then needs to complete a four year postgraduate medical program, before completing a year long internship in order to become fully registered – or almost a decade of study.
After finally receiving their qualification, young doctors are left with another big choice – what to specialise in, if anything? All those years of study can quickly catch up, with many opting to take somewhat of a working holiday and away from home. While this can include anything and everything from taking up work as a locum doctor, heading overseas or even starting a fellowship, one of the growing trends seen amongst new GPs is turning their attention towards the healthcare on offer for Indigenous Australians.
Working In Indigenous Health As A GP
Australia’s Indigenous population is two distinct cultural groups made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. However, there is great diversity amongst our First Nations people, exemplified by the over 250 different language groups spread across Australia.
Indigenous Australians became genetically isolated around 58,000 years ago. As this is a whopping tens of thousands of years before other ancestral groups, this makes them the world’s oldest civilization. However, the arrival of European settlers to Australian shores marked the beginning of a wide range of well documented struggles for Indigenous people, with the quality of their health being one of many.
While many aspects of Indigenous health have improved, challenges still exist. Indigenous Australians have a shorter life expectancy than non-Indigenous Australians, and are at least twice as likely to rate their health as fair or poor. Compared with non-Indigenous Australians, Indigenous Australians are also –
- 2.9 times as likely to have long-term ear or hearing problems among children
- 2.7 times as likely to smoke
- 2.7 times as likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress
- 2.1 times as likely to die before their fifth birthday
- 1.9 times as likely to be born with low birthweight
- 1.7 times as likely to have a disability or restrictive long-term health condition
A wide range of cultural, social and medical factors have all contributed towards the overall health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, with “closing the gap” being identified as one of the top priorities for the Australian healthcare system. As such, pursuing a career that specialises in the healthcare of Indigenous people as a GP requires culturally appropriate general practice training, leadership and advocacy, and an extremely collaborative approach when it comes to ensuring that the health of a local community is at its best.
GPs stationed in or near Indigenous communities will often work directly with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker. These roles are reserved only for people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and must be registered with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner Board of Australia (ATSIHPBA). As an integral part of closing the healthcare gap, they play an important role in reducing anxiety and improving the quality of communication for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients through cultural brokerage. They assist general practitioners to better understand and respond to clients’ concerns, and help clients to better understand their illness and treatment.
Working in Indigenous health care as a GP not only gives medical practitioners a chance to make a difference in the lives of our First Nations people, and how we treat the unique medical conditions that they present with. It’s also a unique insight into the rich history of the world’s oldest living culture, and is not an experience that can be replicated anywhere else on Earth.
GP Career Opportunities In Queensland
If you’re on the hunt for a doctor or general practitioner role in the Sunshine State, there’s a chance that you’ll either want to work a little, a lot – or somewhere in between. Queensland based opportunities with House Call Doctor offer flexibility, with shifts that fit around your current workload, personal commitments, or even just lifestyle preferences.
Whether you’re looking to increase your earning potential, gain experience, or even just have a desire for greater job satisfaction, opportunities with House Call Doctor offer local medical practitioners a chance to explore what out of hours and locum healthcare is like, while still retaining a sense of freedom and flexibility. If you’re looking for an opportunity to broaden your career horizons, are you –
- An Australian or Internationally Trained Medical Graduate
- Have full registration with the Medical Board of Australia
- Have two years post graduate experience, including experience in paediatrics, accident and emergency, general medicine and surgery
If you can answer yes to all of the above, then why not consider registering your interest for locum general practitioner doctor jobs with House Call Doctor today, and be a part of the medical revolution.