Community Spotlight: Dr Alison Soerensen

I came to learn the power of the doctor-patient relationship and to appreciate the honour of walking beside a person on their journey through life. It was then that I knew, there was nothing “just” about being a GP.

Recently, I was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Achieving this milestone marked the beginning of a new chapter and the opportunity to reflect on the one past. If you’d asked me 10 years ago if this is where I thought I’d be, I’d have said no. I was in medical school, the majority of placements were in tertiary hospitals and general practice seemed like the poor relative. I’m ashamed to admit that, I didn’t want to be ‘just’ a GP.

This all changed in my penultimate year of medical school, when I was assigned to an outer metropolitan general practice. I had two amazing GP supervisors (a husband and wife dream team if you will), who were providing high-quality, primary care to a diverse group of patients. They epitomised ‘generalism’ – diagnosing and treating a variety of disease processes, often complicated by co-morbidities, all the while dealing with the uncertainty of undifferentiated illnesses. Accomplished educators, not only did they share their clinical skills, but they taught me to appreciate the beauty, struggles and frailty of the human condition. Thanks to them, I came to learn the power of the doctor-patient relationship and to appreciate the honour of walking beside a person on their journey through life. It was then that I knew, there was nothing “just” about being a GP.

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