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Meet GPTQ medical educator, Dr Amelia Duhs

Dr Amelia Duhs (featured image)

At school, Dr Amelia Duhs was interested in several career options, including medicine. She completed her first degree in pure maths, mainly in advanced differential equations, and went on to study postgraduate medicine at The University of Queensland.

“General practice is often the front line in managing mental health issues within the general community, and I think if it’s done well we can have a tremendous impact on a large number of people as well as the community as a whole.”

Early medical education in Toowoomba

Amelia grew up in Brisbane. She met her husband at university during her undergraduate degree, and after both completing medical degrees, they started their careers as interns in Toowoomba. This gave them a broader exposure to medicine and more independence than they felt they would have had in a metropolitan hospital.

“I loved Toowoomba,” Amelia says. “The education program was fantastic, and as there were few subspecialty units there at the time it was a terrific environment to receive broad clinical exposure. This made it wonderful from an education point of view.” Amelia worked in general medicine and spent significant time working in the dialysis unit before moving into general practice.

Loving the continuity of care as a GP

“I started doing medical rotations planning for physician training and I really enjoyed it,” Amelia says. “But I wanted a flexible lifestyle and valued the continuity of care aspect of general practice, which you don’t get as much within the hospital system.”

“Once I did a little bit of general practice I loved it. I could use a lot of the physician skills I had acquired within general practice and I could also develop long-standing relationships with patients,” she says. “I love the diversity; you never quite know what’s going to come through the door. I enjoy that breadth very much – across domains, and also across age groups.”

Amelia currently practises one day per week at Spring Hill Medical Centre in Brisbane and teaches two days per week at GPTQ. She also balances work with looking after her 10-month old son.

Rewarding challenges as a medical educator

Amelia has always had an interest in education. She grew up surrounded by academics within her family and has been involved in teaching since her undergraduate days.

“It’s lovely to have an impact on more than just the patient in front of you. If you can influence a group of registrars, you can influence a lot more patients than you would ever be able to via your own consultations alone,” she says.

A team effort

“I respect and value the people that you get to work with in medical education; they’re all relatively like-minded in their interests in education, patient care and staying up to date with developments in general practice,” she says.

Amelia is particularly interested in teaching women’s health and mental health.

Making a difference

“General practice is often the front line in managing mental health issues within the general community, and I think if it’s done well we can have a tremendous impact on a large number of people as well as the community as a whole,” she says.

“Being a female GP, you’re always going to see a significant case load of women’s health issues. I enjoy dealing with areas such as pregnancy, contraception and gynaecology. I feel you can have a big impact on a patient’s general well-being if these areas are well managed.”

Amelia encourages medical students to try a variety of areas before choosing a specialty. She says: “Think long term. Some things can be fantastic for a year or two, but is it what you want to keep doing forever – both from an intellectual viewpoint and a social or lifestyle viewpoint?”

Helping GP registrars shape their own careers

Amelia recommends general practice because it enables doctors to shape their own careers. She says: “General practice allows you to bring multiple different skill sets with you and to use them all. You can run your general practice in a way that has whatever bent you desire. There are ways to import your other medical interests into general practice and there are multiple avenues within general practice to keep everything varied. It’s a career that you make, to some extent, into what you want it to be.”

Amelia’s advice to registrars is to ask their supervisors lots of questions. She says: “They’ve got years of invaluable experience. Use that resource while you have the opportunity.”

Amelia works with GPTQ as a medical educator in the Brisbane North District, helping GP registrars achieve their training goals along the way to becoming doctors.

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