Community Spotlight: Dr Ann-Marie Baker
Rural generalism really is a diverse career and you never know where it will take you.
Dr Ann-Marie Baker has taken advantage of a varied and customisable GP training pathway to fulfil her dreams of working with people to make a difference. After studying medicine at the University of Western Australia (UWA), she fell in love with the people, their approach to life, and the beautiful WA countryside.
“My training pathway was diverse and I’ve really enjoyed that. I started studying medicine because I wanted a career that helped people and continued to be challenging, where I could engage in lifelong learning. I went to UWA because they allowed me to defer for a year. Then I went to Queensland for my internship on the Sunshine Coast. I moved back to WA to work at King Edwards, Sir Charles Gairdner, Princess Margaret, and Perth Children’s Hospitals. I then started training as a GP registrar at Geraldton Aboriginal Medical Service.” she says.
So far Dr Baker has studied obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as paediatrics through the Child Health Program, she explains, “I love working with people to help make their dreams of having a family come true. These issues can be delicate, so I really enjoy making them feel comfortable. Working with kids is the highlight of my work so far. Training for me is about gaining knowledge so I can grab opportunities to do the work I love. Sometimes it can feel like being thrown in the deep end, but I know I have my supervisor to learn from.”
When talking about her placement within an Aboriginal medical service, Dr Baker believes there’s something special about working with local communities, “I’ve really enjoy being involved in Aboriginal health, learning their traditions, and building relationships within the community. Some of my patients have very complex health needs but learning more about how best to help and support them has been very rewarding. The locals have been really friendly and welcomed me to town. There's always something going on to be involved with. It's been great to be take part in community activities and volunteer for charity work as well.”
The rural location has also created opportunities for Dr Baker, who says learning in rural and remote situations has given her experience she might not have gained elsewhere. “I would recommend training in WA, especially if you're looking for an adventure or a unique experience and you’re willing to give rural work a go. If you’re open minded about new experiences, there is so much that can be gained from taking on a challenge. I'm constantly amazed at rural generalist GPs that have been working in the field for years. The knowledge that they have and the cases they know how to deal with are astounding at times. It really is a diverse career and you never know where it will take you.” she concludes.