Dr Rebecca Lock
Meet GPTQ Medical Educator, Dr Rebecca Lock
Dr Rebecca Lock was born in Brisbane and grew up on the Gold Coast. She graduated in 2001 and commenced her general practice at Pomona Doctors Surgery on the Sunshine Coast in 2004. “I’ve been in the area ever since. I’m coming up to my thirteenth year in the current surgery at Cooroy,” she says.
“I started an arts degree at uni. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I did a basic biology and biochemistry subject and I quite enjoyed them. When I got to my honours year in biochemistry, I realised that I didn’t enjoy being in a lab. I thought about what I ultimately wanted and medicine fitted with that. That’s when I applied for post-graduate medicine at The University of Queensland.”
Drawn towards general practice
“I wanted to have a speciality where I got to cover a wide range of things and do a little bit of everything. The idea of seeing people over the course of their life and having that continuity of care was really attractive to me. That led me towards general practice.”
Rebecca says she fell into the position of Medical Educator. “I always enjoyed general practice training and the group sessions we did,” she says. “A colleague was leaving the area and asked me if I’d like to do medical education work. I jumped at the opportunity.”
Helping GP registrars navigate rural training pathways
Rebecca coordinates our Brisbane North district, but also conducts rural medical education advisory work. “I know about the training pathways and what’s needed to achieve a rural fellowship, and I can help people navigate them.” The rural training pathways are quite complex, she says, with special requirements that need to be met.
Rebecca has continued examining for RACGP. “I also do AGPT interviews. My work goes from when people are just thinking about doing general practice right through to their Fellowship exam and supporting them in between, including a remediation and support role. I’m interested in doctors looking after their own health,” she says.
Rural educational support
Rebecca works at Cooroy in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. She also supports rural fellowship registrars particularly training advice at induction, AST and ARST. “I hope to continue incorporating education as a large part of my career. I see the principles of general practice – problem solving and seeing people over time – reflected in the training as well.”
Being a Medical Educator keeps Rebecca up to date with the latest research. “I also like to help doctors survive those first few weeks of general practice,” she says. “Seeing the evolution in people over time is really satisfying, and making sure they are practising good-quality medicine is very important. Being a part of medical education is what I can do to help foster quality general practice.”
The opportunity to pursue personal medical interests
Rebecca is passionate about women’s health and chronic complex disease. “I find that they’re two areas people can be overwhelmed by when they start in general practice,” she says. “It’s also very satisfying medicine to do. I like to demystify some of the overwhelming parts and give people good management strategies,” she says. “I really like problem solving. I like chronic and complex illnesses; l find them challenging and enjoyable.”
Supporting people through illness or social difficulties is also a vital part of her work. “Being that base for people over time, to be a part of their life and to be one of their support people, is such a privilege.”
“I’m also passionate about teaching integrative medicine,” she says. “I like to critically analyse what sorts of complementary medicines people may be taking. There’s potential use, but there’s also potential for harm. You need to address them with the same critical eye as you do regular medicine. We need to accept that people are going to use them and be well informed.”
Small town lifestyle but with plenty of support
Rebecca enjoys the rural feel of living in a small town. “You know who’s related to who. When someone comes in with a problem, you can see the impact that’s going to happen within the circle of that person’s influence. Likewise, you get the opportunity to do a few things that perhaps you wouldn’t in the city.”
At the same time, Rebecca is grateful for hospitals and allied services being close at hand. “I am in a well-supported position. I live near the beach and near the mountains; it’s just glorious. And the town is small enough that you can walk up the street and say hello to half the people.”
“It’s helpful to know the history of the town you are in – what troubles have occurred that have impacted on people,” says Rebecca. “I don’t think you can get that amount of insight into your patients in larger areas. There’s less connection. Being able to treat generations of families in the town is lovely.”
Improving patient outcomes
Rebecca says the scope of her practice has changed over the last ten years. “My patients have grown older with me. I now see people with more chronic diseases and I see fewer coming in for injuries or infections. I see people regularly to keep on top of their medical conditions. My role is to keep people out of hospital and improve their outcomes.”
“I love my patients,” she adds. “When I come to work and have conversations with each of my patients, that makes my day good. I think if you can do a job that makes each day good, then you’ll be happy.”