Research highlights role of training in retaining GPs in Aboriginal Medical Services
New GPEx research sheds light on the critical role of training in building a sustainable General Practitioner (GP) workforce to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Published by the Australian Journal of Primary Health (2023), “‘Being in a place where it matters’: GPs who do and do not work in Aboriginal Health services” examined factors motivating Australian General Practice Training Program (AGPT) graduates to remain in or leave Aboriginal Medical Services (AMSs).
The research also explored the significance of GP training experiences within AMSs, and how these experiences shaped career decisions and contributed to delivering quality healthcare to Indigenous Australians.
The study concluded that GPs’ motivations for working in AMSs closely aligned with those in rural or under-served areas, namely social justice values, finding the work to be rewarding, and prior exposure to the sector. Further, it highlighted the importance of enjoying relationship-building and perspective-taking as strategies for career longevity and meaningful impact.
Finally, the research underscored the key attributes GPs need when delivering healthcare for Indigenous patients, including cultural sensitivity and awarness, engaging with the community to establish trust, and using empathy to acknowledge historical and social factors.
The insights gained from comparing the experiences of GPs who remained and those who left Aboriginal Medical Services are invaluable and encourage opportunities for AMS placements, enhanced clinical training, mentorship programs, and mental health support services.
Addressing barriers and cultivating coping strategies will create a stronger foundation for GPs to provide quality care in Indigenous Australian communities.
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