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Meet Dr Peta Carriline

Dr John Buckley (featured image)

Peta works at a GP clinic in East Toowoomba, with another two days devoted to her medical education duties for Registrars in the Toowoomba hub, and doctors on the Practice Experience Program (PEP).

“One of the wonderful things about my general practice and medical educator roles is that they offer lots of flexibility. Both jobs complement our family lifestyle really well,” Dr Peta says.

Deciding on GP

Growing up in Mackay, Dr Peta Carriline says her early experience with the hospital system planted the seeds for a future medical career.

“I had a few family members who had contact with different hospitals, so I got to see that side early on, and I think that’s what inspired me. During high school, the culmination of my interest in the sciences and my passion for helping people led me to study medicine,” she says.

Peta travelled up to Townsville to undertake her medical degree at James Cook University, which has a strong rural, remote and tropical health focus.

“To be honest, when I left medical school, I didn’t think I wanted to be a GP. But after rotating through the different areas in the hospital, I quickly realised that what I wanted from a medical career was to be able to look after people through the ages and have continuity of care. So after my second year in the hospital, I moved to Brisbane to do my GP training,” she says.

Making the move to Toowoomba to combine work and family

After obtaining her fellowship in 2013, Peta practised in a Brisbane-based GP clinic for a number of years, until she decided to move to Toowoomba at the end of 2017 with her young family.

“I’d been in the same Brisbane suburb for a long time, so I had the opportunity to follow patients through their journey from young adults to getting married to having their first child. It was when I moved to Toowoomba and got a new patient base that I actually realised it’s the relationships you build with patients that makes GP work so rewarding,” she says.

Peta currently practises two days a week at a GP clinic in East Toowoomba, with another two days devoted to her medical education duties for Registrars in the Toowoomba hub, and doctors on the Practice Experience Program (PEP).

“One of the wonderful things about my general practice and medical educator roles is that they offer lots of flexibility. Both jobs complement our family lifestyle really well,” she says.

The decision to move to Toowoomba with her husband and three boys aged six, four and one was made due to a mix of practical and personal reasons.

“As I grew up in a regional town, I wanted something similar for my children. It’s been a nice fit,” she smiles.

Taking on the PEP role

No stranger to medical education, Peta has been a RACGP examiner and ECT visitor for a number of years. It was in March 2019 that she took up a dual position at GPTQ as both an Assistant Medical Educator for the Toowoomba hub, and Medical Educator for doctors on the Practice Experience Program (PEP).

Peta spends the majority of her medical education time working with PEP doctors, and sees it as an ‘education support program, not a training program’.

“PEP caters for a diverse group of doctors.  It aims to provide an individualised, self-directed pathway to fellowship. It is an incredibly rewarding role being able to work with some amazing doctors who have diverse experience and practise styles,” she says.

“These doctors come from different backgrounds, and many have years of overseas training. We can tailor their education programme to their current career stage, and support them in areas where they don’t have as much experience.”

As many PEP doctors are so used to practising on their own, Peta says they find it ‘quite foreign’ to suddenly have an ME to assist their learning, but are also extremely grateful for that one-on-one support; something she’s extremely happy to give.