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Meet GPTQ Medical Educator, Dr Greg Shrimpton

Dr John Buckley (featured image)

With a number of years of clinical experience under his belt, Dr Greg Shrimpton is now proud to have a hand teaching the next generation of primary care professionals.

“There’s certainly never a dull moment as a GP. Every day, I constantly learn something new from my patients. I find them fascinating and they always surprise me with their resilience. I gain as much from them as I hope they do from me.”

Rural training time

Dr Greg Shrimpton grew up in New South Wales in the picturesque Hunter Valley, but says it was a combination of ‘luck and fate’ that led him to become a Queenslander.

“I applied to study medicine at two opposite ends of Australia – in North Queensland and Tasmania. I fortunately ended up at James Cook University in Townsville, so most of my undergraduate training was in regional and rural Australia. It gave me some fantastic exposure to the concept of generalist medicine, and I think that’s what really started me on my journey towards general practice,” he says.

Greg thoroughly enjoyed his rural time and along the way, developed a healthy respect and admiration for country doctors.

Rural medicine does come with its challenges. I take my hat off to GPs working in rural settings because you really do need a unique set of skills and knowledge,” he says.

He believes there are many advantages to studying and training rurally, one of which is increased access to experienced rural practitioners.

“There were less medical students and Registrars, so I had more time with some amazing mentors. I think a lot of the good attributes I have as a GP now I actually took from them,” he smiles.

Sowing the GP seeds

Growing up, Greg says he knew he always wanted to become a doctor, but hadn’t given much thought to which area of medicine he’d choose. He says that ‘perhaps subconsciously’ he pictured himself as a family GP, as he had a brilliant childhood GP himself. But his Gold Coast hospital training experiences really solidified his decision.

“I enjoyed all my terms in the hospital setting, but I couldn’t picture myself doing one and excluding the rest. I then had the opportunity to do the Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP), and instantly connected with general practice medicine,” he says.

Greg went on to do his GP training with GPTQ and fellowed in 2015.

“I loved my time as a Registrar with GPTQ, and look back with really fond memories. Part of the reason that I wanted to come on board as a medical educator is to give back to GPTQ, as well as to the up and coming Registrars,” he says.

Medical education as his specialty

At present, Greg lives on the Gold Coast with his wife, who is expecting their first child. He practises at a local GP clinic four days a week, with another day set aside for his medical education duties in the Gold Coast District.

Having long held an interest in medical education, Greg began in the field by teaching Bond University medical students. He then expanded to undertaking ECT visits with GPTQ, before taking on his role as a medical educator in late 2019.

“Becoming a GPTQ educator is one of the best things I’ve done, both personally and professionally. My colleagues are a fantastic and passionate group of people, and I learn so much from our Registrars. I’m continually inspired by them, and they give me confidence in the future of general practice,” he says.

When it comes to Registrar teaching topics, Greg likes to hone in on a few key areas.

“I’m passionate about improving the standards of general practice in the community, and there’s plenty of scope to do this when teaching,” he explains.

“I also want to foster a sense of peer collegiality, focusing on the fact that the knowledge is in the room. While we do teach as educators, it’s just as important to help our Registrars become teachers as well.”

Be a lifelong learner

When it comes to advice for Registrars as they train towards Fellowship, Greg offers this.

“Think about your career in medicine as a marathon rather than a sprint. Your medical education doesn’t necessarily end when you graduate from medical school, nor when you gain your Fellowship. It’s really just the beginning,” he says.

“You’ll constantly learn new and interesting ways to better engage with your patients and improve your knowledge and skills. It’s one of the best parts of being a GP.”