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Meet GPTQ medical educator, Dr Lindsay Haase

Dr Kate Wallis (featured image)

Working in rural hospitals during his training time has given Dr Lindsay Haase a depth of rural knowledge and experience that he’s keen to share with Registrars.

“I like the variety of rural medicine. You can do a ward round with your physician’s hat on, and then go to outpatients or the clinic and put your GP hat on. And then you can go out to emergency, resuscitate someone and call in the helicopter. I enjoy the chance to mix it up a little.”​

A career shift

Growing up in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, Dr Lindsay Haase says many people encouraged him to study medicine, but he opted for a slightly different university path.

“I did an arts and education degree with majors in music and history. I then went on to teach those subjects at high school level, but also taught English in South Korea to primary school students for a year. That was fun,” he says.

But Lindsay soon tired of the teaching game and decided it was time for a career change. It was then that he finally answered the call of medicine.

Choosing the rural pathway

During his first year of med school, Lindsay signed up for a rural scholarship and followed the Rural Generalist pathway. When it came time to do his clinical years, he moved out to Toowoomba and to this day, remains there with his young family.

While in Toowoomba, Lindsay took the opportunity to do two advanced skills years – one in adult internal medicine and another in emergency medicine – before going on to do his GP training. Today, he utilises his broad skillset working at hospitals in both Murgon and Cherbourg, as well as teaching Registrars in GPTQ’s Warwick and Stanthorpe hub.

“In Murgon, I work at the hospital inpatient and emergency departments. In Cherbourg, I do inpatients, outpatients and the emergency department, plus I run a chronic disease clinic which is quite similar to GP work. I love the variety this offers me. I think I’d get bored if I was just working in a GP clinic full time,” he explains.

The other part of rural medicine he finds very satisfying is the fact that he’s contributing to an area of need.

“You know you’re providing a valuable service, and that you’re hopefully giving back to your community. While it’s challenging work, it’s also very interesting. You get to see and do a lot more in a rural context than you might in an urban GP practice.”

A focus on chronic disease management

Cherbourg is primarily an Aboriginal community, and Lindsay says many residents have chronic health issues including heart, kidney and liver disease. While he says it’s very demanding work, he feels he’s ‘making some good headway’ in improving patient outcomes.

“I’ve been there 18 months now, and once people get to know you, they start to trust you a little more. They feel confident to come back for their reviews and I see their blood work improving, or their weight coming down, or that they’ve quit smoking.”

Lindsay feels tackling health inequalities in Indigenous communities should be a ‘national priority’, and it’s an area in which Registrars and GPs are well placed to help.

“I think we all need to be doing our part as much as we can to address the problem. If you’re working in general practice, and you have an opportunity to work in an Aboriginal community or Aboriginal medical service, you should consider it. It’s really worthwhile work.”

Striking a balance between work and family

On the home front, Lindsay has a large young family who are all based in Toowoomba.

“I have four kids. The oldest is nearly nine and the youngest is four; they were all born within four years and three months of each other,” he says.

His partner looks after the family full-time, which allows him to travel out to rural communities for a run of days at a time. He says it’s ‘always a bit of a challenge, but I guess you just make it work’.

“I try to capitalise on making the most of my time with the kids when I come home. But I think going to work probably provides me with a little bit of sanity as well. I actually find it more relaxing to be at work resuscitating people and dealing with emergencies, than being at home sometimes!” he laughs.

Taking up teaching again

During his time at med school and as a junior doctor at Toowoomba Hospital, Lindsay says he was lucky to be taught by Dr Peter Nolan.

“He was a really inspirational teacher. He is by far the cleverest and the kindest doctor I know. He’s the perfect example of combining superb clinical skills and the intellect of medicine, with the humanity and compassion of medicine,” he says.

It is possible Dr Nolan’s teaching example reignited Lindsay’s love of teaching others, for as soon as he fellowed, he was quick to put his hand up to become a GPTQ medical educator. Lindsay began the role in January 2020, and particularly enjoys sharing his experiences being on the GP training program.

“I’ve only recently been through the whole process myself, so it’s still fresh in my mind. I think this helps me better support and encourage Registrars too.”

Advice for exams and beyond

When it comes to helping current Registrars, particularly with exams, Lindsay offers this guidance.

“Don’t stress too much over your formal bookwork. Just maximise the number of patients you see, and work as much as possible. If you see an interesting case, look it up and read about it. That’s probably the best exam preparation you can do,” he explains.

“While it’s not easy to get through the training, it’s very doable. Just persevere and be sure to ask for help. There are always people there to offer support if you need it.”