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In her first year of GP training Dr Krystyna de Lange became a GPTQ Registrar Liaison Officer, which led to work with The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and being appointed to the RACGP Board in 2018. She played a pivotal role in establishing the RACGP National Faculty for GPs in Training in 2019. Here she shares her journey to General Practice and what she loves most about her work.

Why General Practice?

I was leaning towards specialising in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at one point—I even got a spot on the training program—but I realised that ultimately it was continuity of care that I was after in my career. I wanted to be able to practice cradle-to-grave-style medicine, as opposed to attending to just one part of a patient’s healthcare needs. Women’s health was an area I always saw myself working in but I didn’t like the idea of having to say goodbye to a patient at the six week post-natal check. I wanted to be managing them well after that, caring for other aspects of their health and seeing their children as well. So it became abundantly clear that a specialty where I could remain more generalist was a much better fit for me. General Practice has allowed me to follow my special interest in women’s health, while still maintaining a broader practice-base and not missing out on other areas of medicine that I am also passionate about, like Paediatrics and chronic disease management.

Why did you choose to train with GPTQ?

Living in Brisbane and wanting to train and work in South East Queensland made GPTQ the only choice.

How has GPTQ helped you find your niche?

Early on I had some doubts about whether I was doing the right thing, but GPTQ made me feel supported and the Medical Educators and my GP Supervisors were there to talk through any hesitations with me; provide advice and an array of options that would help me pursue my interests and get the most out of my training. It has really opened up different doors, both clinical and non-clinical, and given me opportunities I might not have otherwise pursued. I remember going to a GPTQ information session and hearing a GP Registrar speak about her training experience at an Aboriginal Medical Service —that talk made me want to explore Indigenous Health and it led to my first year training placement at the Inala Indigenous Health Service. I loved it so much that I have returned to this practice since becoming a Fellow. If it wasn’t for the support and guidance I received early on from GPTQ, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love my patients. They are what drive me. I love that I can walk the, at times, rocky road of health and sickness with them. It’s hugely rewarding. Ultimately though I know that in a clinical sense, regardless of where I am practising, I am really only reaching a small number of people. Hopefully making a big difference to their lives, but ultimately it’s still small numbers relatively speaking. Looking at the bigger picture, what excites me is being able to make a difference or have influence on a much larger scale. This is why I am so grateful to have had opportunities to be active in organisations like RACGP and GPTQ, where there is opportunity to make an impact on the future of General Practice and ultimately the health of our communities. Being involved in advocacy and policy is something I really want to continue with. As GPs we are in a unique position as we understand both the complexities of the healthcare system and the journey that patients travel with their health.

Describe your practising week?

Right now I am on maternity leave. When I return to work in April I will resume practising three days a week at Inala Indigenous Health Service and balance this with my Medical Educator role with GPTQ, teaching GP Registrars. I will also continue on as the immediate past Chair of the RACGP National Faculty of GPs in Training, where I hope to support and mentor the next group of GP Registrar representatives.

Check out our Adventure in General Practice eBook to learn about how a career in general practice can open up a life of endless possibilities.