A GP registrar in her final year of training, Dr Andrea Lamprecht is passionate about patient education, as well as supporting current GPTQ registrars across the Brisbane region.
From Australia to the US and back again
Dr Andrea Lamprecht was born in Brisbane but her family moved to the United States just before she entered high school.
“We moved to Seattle as Dad was working on a project for Boeing. It was supposed to run for two years and then we were going to come back. But every six months, they’d extend it so we ended up staying for eight years!” she smiles.
As a result, Andrea spent her high school years in the US education system. Her family returned to Australia at the end of her secondary education, but she chose to remain and enrolled in a Biomedical Science degree at the University of Washington.
“I did my first year of university there but didn’t have the money to keep going. I then came back home to finish off that degree at UQ, and then went on to do my MBBS and Masters of Philosophy,” she explains.
Andrea is currently in her second year of GP training and works full-time at Rochedale Family Practice in Brisbane. She says the decision to pick general practice as her specialty was an easy one.
“During my first few years of medical school, my family had a running joke with me. They’d ask me ‘What’s the flavour of the week this week?’ referring to the fact that I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to do. For a while it was endocrinology, and then it was obstetrics. I’d just go from one thing to another,” she says.
“Then in second year, I thought ‘Why haven’t I thought of general practice before?’ So I looked into the training program and it just fit. I thought ‘Yep, this is me. This is what I want’. And I didn’t change my mind again after that!”
Inspired to be a great patient educator
Andrea’s favourite part about being a GP is the opportunity to educate her patients.
“I love explaining things in terms a patient just ‘gets’. It’s so important to find the right way to explain it, so that patient not only understands but can take ownership over it and take action themselves,” she says.
Andrea feels this desire for good communication may have stemmed from her grandmother’s experiences.
“She’s originally from Germany and has lived in Australia for over 40 years. Even though she’s been speaking English for a very long time, she still struggles with communication. Sometimes medical professionals don’t take the time to really explain things to her and she’s left feeling very confused, and this impacts on her ability to trust doctors,” she says.
“That’s why I enjoy being able to see patients go from that point of confusion to then having a good understanding. It makes me feel really happy.”
Supporting registrars as GPTQ’s RLO
GPTQ’s Registrar Liaison Officer’s (RLO) role is to feed information about registrars’ needs back to the organisation, whilst providing professional and personal support about issues such as contracts, pay, miscommunication, exam preparation and more. An RLO is often seen as a registrar’s ‘safe place’; someone they can freely speak to about important matters that may be impacting their training.
Andrea’s first taste of being an RLO was in March 2020 when she took on the position of assistant hub RLO for her group of 30 registrars. She enjoyed the experience so much that she signed up to be GPTQ’s RLO for the metro region this year.
“I initially put my hand up to be the hub RLO because I’m happy to help out by listening to people and passing things on. That experience showed me how much GPTQ genuinely care for their registrars, and that what we’re doing does feed back into the quality of our training,” she explains.
“I like problem solving, so it’s rewarding to be able to talk to registrars about their issues and find solutions. My goal is for registrars to know that I’m the person you can come to if you have a problem, or if you need a sounding board, or if you just want to vent.”
Navigating your first GP training year
Having only recently completed her first year of training, Andrea is well placed to offer advice about getting through it.
“You’ll likely have some anxiety about what it’s going to be like now that you need to take ownership over the care of your patients. You might wonder if you’re ready for it, but the answer is yes,” she says.
“You have the skills you need. You know how to find information, you know how to communicate with people. Now all you need is some more practice.”