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Dr Marie-Louise Dick

Meet GPTQ medical educator, Dr Marie-Louise Dick

Dr Marie-Louise Dick (featured image)

Dr Marie-Louise Dick decided to go into medicine because of her interest in the human body, combined with her desire to help people. She grew up in Brisbane and studied medicine at The University of Queensland.

Marie-Louise began her career planning to specialise in paediatrics. A few years after graduating, she spent time in the United Kingdom working as a medical locum. While she enjoyed her locum posts in paediatrics, she also missed adult medicine.

“I didn’t want to lose all the adult medicine that I’d learnt over the preceding years” she says. “I thought general practice would allow me to continue to practise in all the areas that I had learnt. I could still treat children; I could treat adults; and I could also work in the field of women’s health, which was an interest as well. It seemed to cover the best of all worlds.”

A 30-year medical career

When Marie-Louise returned to Brisbane, she undertook locum work in general practice and went on to join the General Practice Training Program. She obtained her GP Fellowship of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) in 1993. She says: “What drew me to general practice? It’s the holistic approach to patients; being in such a privileged position to get to know your patients very well and to care for them over a long period of time.”

During her 30-year medical career, Marie-Louise’s clinical practice has been predominantly in broad spectrum general practice, with some time also working in family planning and addiction medicine. Shortly after graduation, she also spent 12 months on a rural health scholarship in Mount Isa, which she describes as a great experience. “There was an enormous variety of clinical presentations, as well as the opportunity to work with a large Indigenous population in the region,” she says.

An Associate Professor in General Practice

Having had a long-term interest in teaching, Marie-Louise decided to become involved in medical education.

“I was keen on medical education, health promotion and preventative health activities. I was also interested in doing research,” Marie-Louise says. She enrolled in a Masters of Public Health to further her knowledge and interests in population health and to develop academic research skills, and in 1995 commenced a part-time lecturer position at The University of Queensland. She has been teaching at the university for 20 years, and is currently an Associate Professor in General Practice.

In her role at The University of Queensland, Marie-Louise has been involved in the development and delivery of the medical program, with a focus on general practice and population and preventative health. She has conducted research in different areas, including clinical research and, more recently, educational research. She’s currently planning to commence a systematic review of multilevel teaching and learning in general practice.

Recognised excellence in medical education

Marie-Louise has received awards for her teaching, including The University of Queensland’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2007 and an Australian Teaching and Learning Council National Teaching Excellence Award in 2008.

Marie-Louise started as an assistant medical educator with GPTQ in 2015. “I’ve spent 20 years teaching medical students and was interested in getting involved in registrar teaching,” she says.

GPs are the gatekeepers of our health system

“I love seeing students’ brains processing and learning,” she says. “I like to see them being challenged. I like to challenge their thought processes, to see what they already know on a particular topic and what they need to know to enhance their learning.”

Her advice to medical students and junior doctors is to maintain curiosity and show care and respect for your patients.

“Curiosity is really important for learning,” she says. “And remember that it’s a privilege to get to know and treat patients. General practitioners are especially privileged to be gatekeepers of the health system.”

Marie-Louise enjoys her role as a GPTQ medical educator, assisting GP registrars with their training progress within several areas in the Brisbane South District.