As a student, you can take advantage of the many associations designed for medical students interested in general practice. Associations are a great way to find out more about the specialty, network, find opportunities and stay abreast of what’s happening in the industry.
1. General Practice Students Network (GPSN)
By far the largest association for medical students planning to enter general practice, GPSN is an Australia-wide group set up to provide support for like-minded students.
There is a wealth of information and member services such as newsletters, study and scholarship advice, and more on the GPSN website. Membership will provide you with access to this content, invitations to conferences, networking events and build your personal support network in the GP community. GPSN has satellite clubs in every medical school in Australia, so no matter where you are studying, you will be able to receive face-to-face contact and support from this association.
GPSN is an offshoot of the General Practice Registrars Network (GPRN) which is in turn funded by General Practice Education and Training (GPET), so the support is continuing, holistic and meaningful all through your student life.
2. National Rural Health Students’ Network (NRHSN), Rural Health Clubs
The NRHSN runs a nationwide network of 28 Rural Health Clubs. Becoming a member of this club means that you have an interest in entering general practice in a rural, remote and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Through the physical clubs and the online resource, NRHSN seeks to support and promote this endeavour and your career in general practice.
Considering the scope of this network, it stands to reason that many of the activities you can get involved in take place at local rural areas such as high schools and health service providers. This can take the form of promotional health events, conferences and other networking events. NRHSN also has a vested interest in the promotion of support for Indigenous health and health education across Australia.
NRHSN is dedicated to providing top-notch support for its members and potential members through the provision of this network, education and promotion opportunities, education and health resources and more.
3. Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) student support
AIDA is an organisation in place to provide support in the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, education and employment. Primarily, it works to support Indigenous students and doctors to enter various specialty fields in medicine.
In terms of student support, AIDA is growing substantially in this field as their network grows as well. According to their research, there are currently approximately 204 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors in practice in Australia, with 310 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in medicine. These numbers will hopefully grow over time, meaning AIDA will grow with them. In addition to providing information on how to apply for ABSTUDY and the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme, AIDA also runs a number of University Indigenous Support Centres. These centres have been implemented to provide better access to university study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This support can include but is not limited to:
- Support Officers to help you deal with academic and personal questions.
- Resources such as computers, library and a dedicated librarian.
- Networking and social events and activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
These centres are often responsible for any Aboriginal Studies courses at the university and therefore can be a source of education and understanding for people who are not part of this community as well.