One Rural Generalist Registrar's top 10 reasons to Go Rural

By , Dr Dan Wilson , Melinda McCarthy published on 02/09/2021 Rural Generalism,

Ochre Recruitment has a proud and longstanding history of working with rural doctors. Our business was born “in the bush” and our passion for rural medicine has never wavered. When we come across articles by doctors espousing similar ideals coupled with their valuable first-hand experience, we can't help but share it.

Dr. Dan Wilson is a Rural Generalist Registrar completing his Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) Fellowship with Murray City Country Coast (MCCC) GP Training. Dan is a leading voice for change in rural health, holding positions with the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Rural Doctors Association Australia (RDAA) and General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA).

His piece "Why I picked rural general practice" was first published in the General Practice Students Network magazine, and with permission we have included it here.


I CHOSE a career in rural general practice because I wanted to have a full suite of skills that could serve any Australian (or, for that matter, international) community: first responder, delivering a newborn, counselling chronic disease, delivering bad news, and caring for loved ones at the end of their lives—rural general practice training has it all.

To be honest, the romanticised stories of the rural GP that ‘does it all’ is slowly changing, as doctors begin to find sustainable work-life balances.

First and foremost, a rural GP is a primary care physician, providing longitudinal high-quality comprehensive and preventative healthcare.

Additional skills for rural general practice
Many rural GPs also have additional skill sets, called Advanced Specialised Training (AST) (sometimes called extended skills or advanced skills), that provide additional services commonly through a secondary health service or hospital.

Rural GPs with AST are now called Rural Generalists—a subspecialist rural GP with a suite of additional skills to service their community.

Common AST skills include obstetrics, anaesthetics, emergency medicine, mental health, and paediatrics (but the list does not stop there).

Having additional skills to not only operate independently but to also work better across multiple multidisciplinary teams attracted me to rural general practice.

Love where you live
However, to work in rural and remote Australia, you have also got to enjoy living in those areas.

While rural and remote Australia is far from homogenous, there are some common features, including: tight-knit and supportive communities, limited resources (compared to metropolitan locations), distance from the next town, and resilient patients.

Rural general practice training has been a create-your-own-adventure for me; the possibilities are truly endless.

If you have not had a chance to work in rural or remote Australia, give it a try.
Sometimes, it is frightening to step outside your comfort zones, but if you do, I promise you will come away better for it.

While there are many reasons why I love rural general practice, these are my top ten reasons.

  1. Work where and how you want
  2. Increased skills to meet the needs of the community you work
  3. Independence and responsibility
  4. Provide longitudinal care
  5. Cheaper training (compared to other specialities)
  6. Faster training (compared to other specialities)
  7. Make a truly remarkable impact on someone’s life
  8. Attractive remuneration packages
  9. Opportunities for advocacy and leadership
  10. Amazing medical, nursing and allied health colleagues (and conferences!)


If you are a GP in training, heeding the call of rural life, and contemplating the Rural Generalist Pathway, you can apply for sponsorship with Ochre Health. By supporting doctors through the ACRRM Independent Pathway, our aim is to provide excellent support and training as you develop the broad range of skills needed to be effective in rural practice.

The ACRRM Independent Pathway is an Australian Medical Council accredited specialist GP training and education program that runs for 3 to 4 years. This is a 3GA approved program providing the Registrar access to 100% A1 Medicare rebates while progressing towards Fellowship. With the Commonwealth Support funding of $15,000 now in place, Ochre Health will subsidise the remaining amount of the Mandatory Fees, which in total will cover:

  • Provisional Recognition of Prior Learning Fee
  • Application Fee
  • Enrolment Fee
  • Education Program Fee
  • Training Support Fee (annually for a maximum of 4 years)

If you are a doctor wanting to explore some new rural locum destinations contact Nicole Langan on 0450 502 135.

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