Born and bred in Port Macquarie, Dr Kate Coleman moved away for her medical studies and subsequent placements, she’s returned for GP training and is relishing the opportunity to live and work in her hometown.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in the coastal town of Port Macquarie, where I spent my entire childhood and schooling years. I then moved to North Queensland for University and completed my medical degree at James Cook University (JCU). I was attracted to the regionally-based aspect of JCU, as it had a large focus on regional and remote medicine. I also loved the outdoor lifestyle tropical North Queensland had to offer. Aside from exploring nature, I enjoy surfing, camping, walking my 2 Labradors and being surrounded by my family and friends.
Why did you decide to become a GP?
One of my first GP placements as a student was with a local Port Macquarie GP, Dr Adam King, who is now one of my supervisors. He introduced me to the versatility and attractable lifestyle of working as a GP in an area like the Mid North Coast. This included running a local family practice with his wife Dr Debra King, an outreach medical clinic in Long Flat, assisting orthopaedic surgery, and days in specialised areas of sports medicine.
After this exposure, I was then further inspired through my placements at JCU across regional and rural Queensland, including Mt Isa, as well as rural Sri Lanka and South Africa. These placements highlighted the importance of access to primary care and preventative medicine, along with the challenging factors of third world experiences. I decided working in a regional area, as a family physician, was particularly fitting for me, my interests in preventative medicine, and desired family lifestyle.
What do you like most about community-based GP training?
Working in the community as part of GP training has allowed me the opportunity to have a grasp on what it is like to work in a close knit community of a regional area. This includes building close rapport with patients and their families, providing their ongoing care for multiple presentations, whilst also being well supported by my local GP supervisor Dr Debra King.
Being a part of the medical community in a regional town allows for the opportunity to network, and meet medical specialists and surgeons in the region, working closely with them providing care to patients, and being easily accessible for advice if required. It has also led to being aware of all the local allied health, and community-based programs available to patients in the local community.
What do you enjoy about living and working in Port Macquarie?
I have really enjoyed returning to my hometown of Port Macquarie and am proud to be working amongst the Mid North Coast community, providing ongoing care for the local patients. Having this unique connection and building rapport with the patients has been a highly enjoyable and attracting part of working here.
At my current practice, I have also been able to work at the local university, UNSW, with teaching of final year medical students, and maintain my hospital skills by working at the local Ramsay Private Hospital as a CMO. On top of this, I am surrounded by many of my close friends and family and have a fantastic lifestyle close to the beach. It did not take much to convince my husband to move here from Queensland 4 years ago!
Would you recommend Port Macquarie/North Coast to doctors thinking of GP training?
Port Macquarie allows for a well-balanced training opportunity as a GP. Not only does it have the lifestyle factor, but there are also many practices in Port Macquarie offering fantastic opportunities for GP registrars to become a part of, providing very capable and supportive supervisors and workplaces.
There are many different options for special skills training through local practices or the local public hospital. There is a local medical school, UNSW, with the opportunity to teach the local students through their training. There is also a local private and public hospital allowing maintenance of, or furthering, desired skills and interests.
What are your career plans after fellowship (if you know )?
At this stage, I am not sure where my career will take me. I am definitely eager to stay on the Mid North Coast. I enjoyed teaching the local medical students, as well as being interested in extra skills in women’s health and skin cancers. Opportunities to work in close by rural towns is also an experience I would like to do more of.
If you’d like to know more about GP training in Port Macquarie or other towns on the North Coast, visit our regional profile.