Meet Dr Brendon Evans
With plenty of rural hospital and GP clinic experience under his belt, Dr Brendon Evans is well placed to help Registrars training on the Rural Pathway.
“I was always interested in rural practise as I grew up in a country area. When I thought about becoming a doctor, a rural doctor was always the kind I imagined I’d be. I like everything about it – that’s the whole point of being a generalist! The reason I am what I am is because I couldn’t pick one thing.”
A well-travelled family
As a child, Dr Brendon Evans moved around quite a bit with his family, and all locations had one thing in common – they were rural.
“I’m originally from Tasmania and lived in a tiny town called Glen Huon. When I was a bit older, we moved up to Queensland to another really small country town called Kingsthorpe. We then shifted just outside of Townsville to Black River, and when I was in grade 11, went to Burpengary on the outskirts of Brisbane,” he explains.
Brendon opted to do a biomedical engineering degree straight out of high school at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). But part way through, he took two years off to do some voluntary work in New Zealand with his church, which he says was a ‘wonderful experience’.
“I came back to my engineering degree and finished it. While I really enjoyed it, I wanted a career that involved patients as I like that face-to-face contact. So I looked at my options and medicine seemed to fit. I sat the GAMSAT and got in,” he explains.
While he completed his medical degree at The University of Queensland, Brendon also worked part-time as an engineering researcher at the CSIRO and QUT’s Biomechanics and Spine Research Group.
Deciding on GP
Brendon’s interest in rural practise was always strong, so he signed up to the Rural Generalist Pathway at the beginning of his internship. This eventually led him to choose to do general practice.
“I did my Junior House Officer year and then a year in obstetrics and gynaecology before doing my GP training. I went out to Warwick Hospital as a GP Registrar and worked under supervision in the hospital for half my time, with the remaining half at one of the GP clinics,” he explains.
Right now, Brendon works at Beaudesert Hospital as the Director of Clinical Services.
“I work in the ED, I deliver babies, I look after people on the wards as inpatients, and then on the side, I do hospital administration. This is mainly focused on recruiting, coordinating visitation, running a roster and making COVID-19 plans. It’s really good variety, especially for people with short attention spans,” he laughs.
At present, Brendon lives in Rochedale in Brisbane with his wife and four children, all aged under 10.
“My wife works as a part-time primary school teacher and is also doing her Masters of Special Education. One thing I love about general practice is that it gives you the flexibility to share the caregiving between a couple. I really enjoy the days I get to stay home and look after the kids. It brings me much closer to them,” he smiles.
Helping GP rural Registrars
Brendon also teaches Registrars one day a week in GPTQ’s Beaudesert hub.
“I’ve always enjoyed teaching. When I was in Warwick, I taught medical students for Queensland Rural Medical Education, and continued to do this when I shifted to Beaudesert in an informal capacity. When the GPTQ teaching opportunity presented itself, I was more than happy to take it up,” he says.
“I love that you get to build strong relationships with the GP Registrars. It’s a big change when you go from the hospital to the GP clinic. In the hospital, you’re used to being very closely supervised and having a lot of structure, but in general practice you have greater independence. I enjoy watching their transitions from feeling insecure and worried, to confident and excelling.”
Brendon says those who opt to work as rural generalists play a big part in helping Australians in areas of most need.
“The country needs people who can do more than one thing. A rural hospital can’t support a cardiologist for a heart attack patient that presents at nine o’clock at night, or a specialist physician for a pneumonia patient. They can’t have a consultant obstetrician there around the clock for an emergency caesarean section,” he says.
“A rural community needs people who are multi-skilled and can work in a variety of places. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t want to give up any part of medicine, if you like everything and want to keep your knowledge fresh, then rural generalism is for you.”
For GP Registrars who might be on the fence about rural medicine, Brendon suggests this.
“Just give everything a go. You don’t know if you’re going to like doing skin incisions or emergency work until you try. Being a Registrar is the perfect time to do it because you’ve got a supervisor that can help you. And you just might find that you really like it.”