Meet GPTQ’s Associate Director of Medical Education (Rural), Dr Mike Hurley
Studying at The University of Queensland (UQ), followed by a postgraduate medical degree at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, it was always Dr Mike Hurley’s plan to become a GP and practise in a rural area.
“It’s a flexible lifestyle. We have a four-month-old baby, and I have recently reduced my clinical time and taken on more education work. It’s so easy with general practice to tailor your career around your life.”
The rural pathway
“I applied for the Rural Generalist pathway in my final year of medical school. I already knew I wanted to be a GP, and I was from a rural area,” he says. “I enjoyed my anaesthetic term, so I decided to combine it all in one career.”
Mike’s decision to become a rural GP was cemented by his experience of rural rotations in Stanthorpe, Queensland, and Gove, Northern Territory. “I applied for the Rural Pathway after this excellent, eye-opening experience,” he says.
An advanced skillset
Mike now works as a hospital-based general practitioner with advanced skills training in anaesthetics. “I enjoy rural anaesthetics, but I also relish community care. The hospital conducts outpatient clinics,” says Mike. “We go out to a remote low-security prison, which provides the opportunity to manage chronic disease.”
The flexibility of general practice greatly appealed to Mike, and he is grateful to be able to choose where, and what, he practises.
“I love emergency and anaesthetics, so I am doing more of that at the moment. However, I could always change and spend more time in community general practice,” says Mike.
“It’s also a flexible lifestyle. We have a four-month-old baby, and I have recently reduced my clinical time and taken on more education work. It’s so easy with general practice to tailor your career around your life.”
A teacher at heart
Rural management of emergency and anaesthetic cases, along with cardiovascular and respiratory medicine, are topics that Mike is passionate about teaching. He is currently working as a medical educator for GPTQ. Education is in the blood for Mike. Both of his parents were teachers in Toowoomba, and he often asks their advice on methods of teaching and engaging people. “I hold education in high regard due to my family background. When I was given the opportunity to move in that direction, I grabbed it.
“When I became a registrar, I enjoyed teaching junior doctors. I got into the formal General Practice training program with GPTQ as a registrar, and was exposed to more structured education and a well-designed program,” says Mike. “Being employed by GPTQ and becoming a medical educator has been a great evolution in my career.”
Mike also appreciates the opportunity to work with his wife and fellow general practitioner, Dr Jaime Hurley. “Working with my wife was really cool; she delivered a baby by caesarean and I did the anaesthetic. That was a moment I remember thinking, we are very fortunate to be able to do this.”
“She’s always inspired me to keep improving my knowledge and skills,” adds Mike. “We completed a few GP fellowships and then started in education. I think we encourage each other to keep pushing ourselves.”
Mike urges current medical students to experience a rural rotation and see for themselves what rural general practice is all about.
“A significant part of choosing rural general practice was the rotations as a student. However, even if they don’t end up doing rural general practice, it’s good to get an understanding of it. It can be inspiring to see what happens in rural and remote communities.”