Meet Dr Sophie Hamilton

meet-dr-sophie-hamilton

Dr Sophie Hamilton spent the first few years of her life on a small island north of Papua New Guinea where her dad was the local doctor. Even though this experience piqued her interest in medicine from a young age, she still never really believed that she could be a doctor herself.

“I’m a hopeless fainter for one thing!”

As a result, Sophie spent quite a few years experimenting with different undergraduate courses, including performing arts.

“At the time, I remember wondering whether I would ever really know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was worried that I might be wasting my time pursuing all of these interests without a clear plan. However, I can now see how much these experiences enriched my life and skillset and set me up for a career in medicine. I have discovered what I am truly passionate about.”

Sophie eventually moved to Canberra to undertake postgraduate medical studies under the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme at the ANU, where she quickly discovered that rural medicine was for her.

“Nothing made me feel more like home like the country did.

“I took every opportunity to secure rural placements as a student and junior doctor, and in doing so, I started to appreciate the maldistribution of the medical workforce in regional Australia. I strongly believe that country people deserve the same degree of high quality healthcare as their city counterparts, and that the location in which they live and work should not be a disadvantage.

“It was at this point that I knew I wanted to contribute to, and advocate for, high-quality healthcare in rural and regional Australia.”

Sophie chose to specialise in general practice because of its variety.

“I liked doing a bit of everything, and didn’t want to say goodbye to any particular specialty.

“I love both the inter-consult and day-to-day variety in general practice, and I especially love the extra things I get to do as a rural GP. I feel energised by the vast array of clinical duties I perform – this might include excising a skin cancer, taking an x-ray of a broken bone, arranging for a patient to be retrieved when they present with an acute stroke, and even providing palliative care – all in one day!

“The beauty of rural general practice also lies in the relationships that we form with our patients. Living and working in the same community allows you to develop unique insights into the context in which your patients live and work. I think this allows you to help more effectively, because you understand what is possible for them, and what they care about most.”

Having just finished a placement in Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula, Sophie’s next placement will see her return home to Loxton in the Riverland region.

“When I was growing up in Loxton, I felt very connected to the local community and loved the strong sense of togetherness in the region.

“I am excited to be returning home, and I feel honoured to serve the community that served me so well during my school years.”

Sophie hopes to undertake Advanced Rural Skills Training in Critical Care or Inpatient Medicine, and is looking forward to undertaking more theatre training as part of her placement in Loxton.

“Being a rural GP is exceptionally challenging, but also so rewarding. I really am very proud and excited to continue my career in the country.”

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