Final call for ‘This Rural Life’ entrants

Morgan Liotta

6/08/2021 2:55:42 PM

The RACGP Rural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health faculties’ photography competition closes Monday 9 August.

Collage of This Rural Life photo submissions.
Jean-Baptiste Philibert’s rural placement inspired him to pursue a career as a rural GP.

The college is calling for last entries in the ‘This Rural Life’ competition, to help build a connection to community through showcasing the experience of GPs and GPs in training in rural communities.
RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements said the competition was inspired by the ‘high levels of professional and personal satisfaction’ reported by rural GPs within their role in the community, and to share these stories across the college member base.
‘We should all look at the community around us and understand why it’s special; talk to the locals about what makes it special to them,’ Dr Clements said. 
‘So we’re hoping that through using the photo competition and using these stories, we can really connect with and engage with the membership to think about taking on some of this work.’

A handful of medical students’ experiences will feature in the project. One of those is Jean-Baptiste Philibert, winner of the RACGP Rural 2020 Medical Student Bursary Award for his project on the role of rural GPs in managing disasters such as pandemics, bushfires or floods.
Originally from Reunion Island, the Western Sydney University medical student’s first placement in the Northern Territory was attached to Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation, where his passion for rural practice grew.
‘There I spent more than half my time with the GP and I was also placed with the nurses there, and I did some outreach work and public health initiatives which was really cool,’ Mr Philibert told RACGP Rural.
‘It definitely changed my perspective, seeing [the clinic] operate on a day-to-day basis made a massive difference because the resources out there are very much needed and people are relying on GPs – there’s really no other option.’
Although he found working in a rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community ‘the biggest culture shock I could get in Australia’ Mr Philibert quickly realised that was what he needed for his placement. 
‘Because I’m sure that experience would make me a better doctor … seeing the living conditions and the remoteness, I understood the social determinants of health,’ he said.
Mr Philibert said his placement led him to identify the many benefits of living and working remotely.
‘One benefit is that you’re in an incredible natural environment that’s different to anywhere else in the world,’ he said.
‘And the people, they are incredibly diverse and interesting and people who you would not meet anywhere else in the world.
‘[Even though] you are quite isolated, and that could also be a challenge, to be able to provide access to adequate care in the community, all of those things have to be taken into perspective to be a good doctor.’
Following completion of his medical degree, Mr Philibert aspires to become a rural GP with a special interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

His time spent in the Northern Territory and other rural areas was well-documented through photos (see above), showcasing the unique experience he had, and hopes to inspire others with.
More information and to apply for ‘This Rural Life’ is available on the RACGP website.
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health photo competition RACGP rural health This Rural Life

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