Inspirational doctor wins national GP-in-training award

Dr Josephine Guyer continues to be an inspiration.

Dr Guyer picked up the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners' (RACGP) NSW/ACT General Practitioner in Training of the Year award earlier this year, and now she's won the national award.

The proud Wiradjuri woman previously completed stints at Schwarz Family Practice in Elderslie, and Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in Airds before moving on to her current clinic, Myhealth Liverpool.

Her diligent efforts also earned the 49-year-old the RACGP's inaugural Growing Strong Award in 2017.

Dr Guyer said it was humbling to receive the state and national award this year.

"It was great to receive the NSW/ACT award, so to win the national award is a tremendous honour," she said.

"There are so many GPs in training doing such impressive work in communities everywhere.

"I will continue to make myself available to advise other Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander registrars and share my training experiences to help others on their journey towards becoming a GP.

"It provides me with an opportunity to speak about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health training and workforce needs - the issues that I am really passionate about."

Before becoming a doctor, Dr Guyer spent two decades as a nurse.

She said her mother was denied the same opportunity to practice nursing more than 50 years ago, simply because she was Indigenous.

"Winning this award is a reminder of how far we have come," she said.

"Half a century ago, my mum wanted to start training in a country hospital as a nurse but she was denied this opportunity because she was an Aboriginal woman.

"Think for a moment, how many other people like my mum may have experienced something similar in the past, and consider the lost opportunities and impact that this has had on our healthcare system."

The medical aspirations are continuing in the Guyer family, with the awardee's son also studying medicine at Western Sydney University.

"This fills me with enormous pride," Dr Guyer said.

"But of course, we still have a long way to go and that is something that really drives me.

"I want to once again encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia to consider joining the general practice workforce if that is something they're interested in.

"Health outcomes among our people will improve significantly if we can boost that workforce presence. So consider what I did and give it a try, you might surprise yourself in ways you never thought possible.

"My message remains the same for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people everywhere - I did it and you can do it too, you just need to believe you can."

RACGP acting president Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda congratulated Dr Guyer on the win.

"Dr Guyer sets a particularly high standard for others to follow, she is a real inspiration," she said

"It is important for general practice to have doctors from a range of different backgrounds and life experiences.

"That way, as healthcare professionals, we can learn from each other and gain insights that might not be obvious to us.

"Dr Guyer comes to general practice with life experience that is enormously beneficial for patient care. SHe worked as a nurse for almost two decades and is a proud Wiradjuri woman who is expert at providing responsive and culturally appropriate care.

"When Dr Guyer recently won the NSW/ACT RACGP award, I thought that she would be a strong candidate to win the national award, so it is no surprise she has emerged successful."

Dr Guyer's roles in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health include:

  • contributing to the design, development and delivery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health training workshops as a member of the GP Synergy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Working Group
  • advocating for culturally appropriate clinical practice by working with other medical educators and GP Synergy's Aboriginal Cultural Education Unit (ACEU) to design, develop and deliver an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health cultural awareness and education webinar during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • collaborating with the ACEU in providing support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GP registrars
  • contributing to the Aboriginal Advisory Committee at the Kildare Road Medical Centre in Blacktown.