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Rural medicine

Training in rural practice is important and valuable

Rural medicine (featured image)

Rural medicine can be challenging. But it’s also one of the best ways to become an outstanding doctor, with the opportunity to learn resourcefulness, flexibility and resilience.

At GPTQ, we’re here to support you through your training in rural practice.

Just yesterday I saw a brand new baby and then an 85-year-old gentleman and everybody in between. You have variety and diversity in both presentations and ages of patients. So you have to be a good generalist.

Trish Rathie, rural GP

Experience a variety of medicine

As a registrar, you may also be exposed to a wider range of presentations during training. On any given day, you might treat rhinovirus, manage a pregnancy, administer immunisations or deal with an emergency. You’re likely to see patients in both a clinical setting and outside the practice, such as by the roadside, in a remote clinic or at a mine site.

Many GPs say that training in rural practice helped them become a better doctor. Rural GPs usually have greater autonomy than their city counterparts.

Get the opportunity to subspecialise

GPs in rural practice have the capacity to subspecialise due to an undersupply of nearby specialists. You can pursue particular medical interests such as obstetrics, anaesthetics, emergency medicine or mental health. During your training, you can take an Extended Skills or Advanced Specialist Training post in areas of interest including Indigenous health, palliative care and mental health. Find out more about specialised training.

Develop ongoing patient relationships

Many rural communities are under-serviced and are grateful for you to be there. Your input can help shape the future of the community, and you will be highly regarded as a leader in the community. You will see patients for not only day-to-day illnesses but also major life events such as pregnancies, accidents and palliative care. You’ll see them down at the local shops, RSL and sporting ground too!

Find out more about rural life.

Discover a strong support network

At GPTQ, we’re passionate about improving health outcomes in rural Australia. We offer ongoing training support to our registrars, supervisors and educators to give them the best opportunity to thrive in their rural location. Our training practices are well versed at guiding and supporting registrars. We have a core team of medical educators and GP supervisors who are always available plus a dedicated Rural Registrar Liaison Officer (RLO) for one-on-one support.


Most rural doctors feel connected when they arrive in a rural community. Clinic staff are usually appreciative of the extra help and ready to support new registrars. You will receive a formal orientation into the practice when you arrive, and staff often welcome you by organising a social event too.

As a rural registrar, you should always feel comfortable talking to your GP supervisor any time you have a patient you are not sure how to treat. Technology also means you can always phone or Skype your peers to connect both socially and clinically.

Next steps

If you’re interested in rural medicine, consider training via the rural pathway. Also find out what to expect from rural life and how it will effect your family. You can peruse our training region pages to see which of our training locations might suit you. If you’re ready to take the next steps, check out our page detailing incentives on offer for those going rural.