Dr Scott Preston
Meet GPTQ medical educator, Dr Scott Preston
“I’ve always been interested in medicine. It started with an interest in biology at school,” says Dr Scott Preston, Stafford-based GP and District Coordinator, Metro North Sunshine Coast.
According to Scott, that interest gradually increased over time. “I had to work hard to get into medicine. I did a year of science and it confirmed what I really wanted. I proceeded from there into medicine in 1992 and I graduated in 1997 from The University of Queensland.”
Doctor–patient relationships that make a difference
Scott has always viewed himself as a generalist. “I like the continuity of care associated with being a GP. I see being a GP as a challenge, but rewarding at the same time. I like my patients.”
The doctor–patient relationships that are formed, and seeing the therapeutic effect of those relationships, says Scott, is where much of the reward comes from.
A knack for teaching others
“I also enjoy the academic side. I think there’s a long way to go in terms of where we can take general practice systems and knowledge and use of the available evidence,” says Scott.
That and a love of education is why Scott decided to become a medical educator. “I’ve always had an interest in education. I love educating myself and I found that I had a knack for teaching others as I was going along, in both the hospital system and in the early days of my general practice,” he says.
Learning from students as a medical educator
The experience that Scott has gained in general practice helps him to educate registrars and vice-versa – the knowledge that he gains in teaching also helps him in his general practice.
“I enjoy preparing for presentations and the knowledge that it gives you. I think there is a nice symbiosis in the relationship between general practice and being a medical educator. One feeds off the other.”
“I am passionate about teaching evidence-based medicine,” says Scott. “I love journal clubs as well. That’s something I am working on in my current role.”
Working as a GP registrar in western Queensland
Scott worked for two and a half years in St George, in western Queensland, while he was a registrar. “That was, without doubt, the best professional experience I have had,” he says. Scott feels fortunate to have had the support of some excellent GP supervisors while on rural training. “It was a wonderful experience,” he says. “Not only do you work in general practice during the day, but you are also on-call after hours for emergencies.”
Becoming part of a community as their GP
Scott worked closely with the medical superintendent at the hospital and says that he saw “all sorts of things”. “It was nice to be a part of the community as their GP,” he adds. “People in the bush tend to respect their doctors.”
Although his original goal was to be a country GP, he says he is now ensconced in his metropolitan practice. “I’ve been in this practice on the south side of Brisbane for eight years. And I have my medical education role here as well.”
The importance of great mentors
Scott says it was the support of his GP supervisors based at St George that he most appreciated. “They were excellent mentors. I had the experience of doing some obstetrics out there, and I felt a lot more supported under them than what I did in hospitals in Brisbane.”
He has this advice for medical students: “Take advantage of the opportunities to experience general practice when they arise. It’s a wonderful, challenging and fulfilling career. If you have an interest in forming a therapeutic relationship with your patients, there’s no other area of medicine that’s equivalent.”