1 June 2023
Tropical paradise the right fit for new intern
When it was time set down roots after graduation, Cairns local Dr Georgia Krause had no desire to look too far afield.
The JCU graduate is one of Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service’s newest doctors, currently undertaking her general medicine rotation and loving life in picturesque Far North Queensland.
For Dr Krause, medicine and nature intersect, with the Cairns region proving the ideal playground to explore this holistic side of practice as she traverses her career working to heal both people and the planet.
But it’s not just the natural beauty of the tropical north that Dr Krause finds endearing. She said the close ties and integrity of the humans in this region continues to impress.
“In places like Mossman and the Daintree I’ve seen first-hand how stoic the locals are and just how strong the sense of community is here.
“I think that is important to many but I recognize this is particularly important to me, it forms a sense of fulfillment, purpose and belonging and that’s what I want in my career long term,” she says.
“I loved being in Mossman for that reason, the people get to know you by first name. You'd see them at the local market, grocery store and on the cable ferry that carries you across the Daintree River, and they always greet you with a smile, I want to live and work somewhere where that is possible.
“I see myself living and working in the Mossman or wider Cape York Peninsula area, because I feel very deeply connected to this community and to give back through my profession would be extremely rewarding.”
She’s the Doctor now
Dr Krause is well into internship in Cairns, with the general medicine rotation component seeing her exposed to a broad range of health presentations.
“I remember being rather nervous on my first day, but everyone was very welcoming and supportive. I’m just taking it one day at a time, it's not about being the best, it's about doing my best,” Dr Krause says.
“If I'm having a bad day, it's actually no one else's fault, so to project that onto other people, whether it's your colleagues or patients, is not fair.
“I’m still getting used to being referred to as a doctor and realising people are looking to me for advice and input. It's real life and real people, no longer an OSCE station - lives ultimately do depend on it although not in the sense of life or death all the time.
“I consider every interaction (with patients and colleagues) as an opportunity for impact. What may appear on a surface level as a simple exchange may leave a lasting impression on a patient or colleague.
“We may never know the true extent of our impact on the lives of those around us, so I consider my position a great privilege.
“Some of the challenges I’ve encountered to date include dealing with complex interpersonal dynamics between families and coming face-to-face with the confronting realities of the social determinants of health. I don't think you can practice that.”
But overall, Dr Krause says she’s loving her new professional life.
“Cairns Hospital in particular has such a great culture - everyone is very collegial, welcoming and very patient-centered, which I appreciate,” she says.
“It's exciting to think about the future because this is the very start of what will be no doubt be a very colourful journey. My goal is to complete my pre-vocational training over the next two years - as part of the Queensland Rural Generalist pathway - and then aim to complete another hospital year before heading out bush.”
As for the longer-term future, Dr Krause does have a list of lofty career aspirations, many of them centered around adventure and remote medicine and she has just applied to Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).
“Ultimately my plans will be to continue to grow my life (and rainforests) based in Tropical Far North Queensland with an array of adventures in between – but this will always be home.”
Diving straight into the real world
Dr Krause says she walked away from graduation day last year feeling “job ready”.
The unique rural and remote placements offered at JCU ensure its medical graduates are good communicators who can work independently from the get-go, according to Dr Krause.
She spent time in Western Australia’s Broome and Beagle Bay, as well as various hospitals and health services across Queensland, and even travelled to Nepal to work with some of the world’s most disadvantaged patients.
Dr Krause says these experiences ensured she was well prepared for her internship in Cairns.
“The number of placements and the fact they start early on in our degree mean we come out very work ready. We are used to patient contact and have refined our communication skills, and I think that's what makes a good doctor great,” she says.
“There have been many times I’ve been out of my comfort zone on placement and now as an intern, but I think it's about stepping up to that challenge. That's where you feel the growth, it's always when you feel a little bit uncomfortable.
“Some of my most memorable clinical experiences that provided the momentum for significant growth (professionally and personally) have come from times I’ve felt the most challenged. Embrace all opportunities that are presented to you - you never know where they will take you.”
NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.