What are the pros and cons of general practice?
Every job has its ups and downs, and being a GP is no different. Whether you work in a rural or metropolitan area—whether you work in your own practice, with a group of colleagues or as part of a large hospital—your experiences will be different. That said, there are some constants in life as a GP. Let’s have a look at some of them now.
- Studying general practice is government-funded. This is the only specialty in Australia for which this is the case!
- The government provides a variety of additional incentives for GPs. These tend to focus on servicing remote and rural areas in Australia.
- As a GP, you will be confronted with a range of medical, psychological and socio-economic problems. Witnessing and treating these issues will keep your mind sharp and ahead of the game.
- Your sense of community will be strong. If you work in a rural area, for example, over the years you will get to know the majority of your patients very well. Even in the city, the same can be true of many of your patients.
- You will have many options when designing your career. If you want to be more autonomous, you can choose your hours and location and how you want to set up your practice. If you want to have stronger administrative support and feel more like you’re working as part of a team, you can join a hospital or larger practice.
- There is a definite strong push from the Australian government to place GPs in remote and rural areas because those areas have higher need. Working in a rural area may not be your first choice, and you may not want to deal with pressure from the government.
- General practice is not always the most lucrative specialty; this can be a deciding factor for many people.
- If you are not a ‘people person’, or you don’t like meeting a wide variety of people, you may find being a GP challenging, as it entails establishing long-term relationships with a diverse patient population.