He spent three years studying medicine at the University of Newcastle, but Dr Troy Gersbach will take “the dust bowl of the west” any day.
The 2012 dux of Wellington High School completed his medical degree last year and is now undertaking his internship at Dubbo Hospital.
The aspiring general practitioner (GP) still has years of training ahead of him. But one thing’s for sure: Dr Gersbach wants to work out west.
“I’m from the country. Born here, raised here. The three years I spent training in Newcastle … I’ve never been so homesick in my life,” he said.
“The beach definitely wasn’t for me, give me the dust bowl of the west any time of the year.
“The people out here, they’re hardworking people, they’re honest people, they’re friendly. You don’t get that in the city. I think I was a little bit shell-shocked when I came back and people were starting to say hello again to me in the streets.”
The road to becoming a rural GP is not an easy one.
After five years studying through the University of Newcastle, Dr Gersbach will now spend two years as a junior medical officer (JMO) at Dubbo Hospital.
He is training on a scholarship with the Royal Australian Air Force, and has just applied to start his GP training.
That will take him out to 2025.
“But after that I’m coming straight back here … or further west if I can, as a GP,” Dr Gersbach said. “I love rural medicine.”
But this passionate doctor will have to leave the bush to become a rural GP.
Providers such as GP Synergy do enable GPs to train in rural areas, including Dubbo.
But places are limited.
Dr Gersbach welcomed recent from the federal government for medical student places to be re-allocated to regional centres.
But the “real issues” lie at the post-graduate training end of the pipeline.
“If I want more post-graduate training I’ve got to head back to the city, I’ve got to head back to the metropolitan areas to get that kind of exposure,” Dr Gersbach said.
“I think exposing people to more rural medicine, and if they can do it through their whole degree, will only bring more people out to the areas of need, such as here.”