|Career change: Michael Abbott moved from pharmacy to a career in medicine .|
Fast forward seven years however and Michael has recently returned to LRH but, following four years of study through Monash University, including at the School of Rural Health’s clinical training sites in Gippsland, he is now a medical intern with plans to practice as a rural GP.
Monash SRH operates multiple sites across rural and regional Victoria, including Churchill and Latrobe Valley & West Gippsland, and focuses on providing a high quality education experience for Monash medical students in order to develop a sustainable rural health workforce.
While working locally as a pharmacist Dr Abbott became aware of the possibility of entering Year A of the Monash graduate entry Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program, based at Churchill. The prospect of training to become a doctor while continuing to live in Traralgon, and the opportunity for multiple rural placements, appealed to the former Melbournian.
Soon Dr Abbott found himself among a cohort of fellow graduate students from a diversity of backgrounds embarking on a pathway to medical practice.
“I had decided I wanted a change and I saw medicine as a way of becoming more involved in patient care in a different way and with slightly different responsibilities,” he said.
Dr Abbott’s four years with Monash offered various study and clinical practice experiences across Gippsland, from general medicine and surgery at LRH to women’s health, psychiatry and GP practice in Traralgon and Moe followed by placements in Warragul and Heyfield as well as stints in anesthetics and emergency in Melbourne during his final year.
“Throughout this time I felt well supported and I enjoyed the many opportunities for practical, hands-on experience that are possible through a rural school, in a smaller environment and where you are working with many of the same staff and teachers who you get to know,” Dr Abbott said. “I think when you are training in Melbourne you are a lot more in the background.”
As a trainee intern Dr Abbott has joined a number of other Monash medical graduates (who had undertaken rural clinical placements) choosing to stay local.
Dr Abbott’s intern year is structured as a series of ten week clinical rotations in surgery, general medicine, emergency and anaesthetics, all at LRH, as well as another rotation in general medicine in Sale.
Next year he hopes to start rural generalist GP training with a view to staying in the Latrobe Valley, working as a rural GP and potentially specialising in hospital anesthetics.
Although his professional hours are long, demanding and often hectic, Dr Abbott said he was embracing the work.
“I just really enjoy working in rural communities,” he said. “I think the work is more diverse and I like small communities, working with smaller teams and getting to know people.”