Message from the CEO

Dr Pat Giddings

Welcome to the latest edition of our Journeys e-newsletter!

It has been an eventful time since the Autumn newsletter. Our team has been busy with the orientation of our first cohort of mid-year intake registrars, preparation of the RVTS ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan, strategic planning activities across all levels of the organisation, and of course our continued support of registrars and supervisors…in addition to the relocation of the RVTS office to a new and more comfortable location in Albury – literally across the road from the old office!

There is a sense of anticipation as we finalise arrangements for the return to our face-to-face procedural workshop program which will be held in Brisbane in late September, involving all registrar cohorts as well as their supervisors.

This will be our biggest ever event with record numbers of registrars attending, including more than 45 first year registrars. Registrar families will once again be supported to attend.

Successful mid-year intake for RVTS training

We welcomed 18 new registrars into the program in the first of our mid-year intakes in July. In response to strong interest in the RVTS program, we have reconfigured recruitment and selection from a single annual intake to two intakes per year. The first cohort is made up of 16 registrar positions brought forward from 2023 and two positions from vacancies in the previous round.

Read more.

“An incredible journey”

Two RVTS alumni, three kids, two dachshunds…
and their path to rural practice

Husband and wife doctor team, Dr Erin Hawkey and Dr Ian Murphy, completed their advanced Rural Generalist (RG) training through RVTS and recently fellowed as FACRRMs (Ian last September and Erin in May). They now work as RGs in rural Victoria.

With a young family – Emaline (8), Gilbert (4) and Minnie (1), not to mention two dachshunds – life is busy…just as it was when they were on the RVTS pathway.

Both Erin and Ian greatly appreciated the support and flexibility provided by RVTS as they balanced their RG training, work as registrars and family life – and with a keen interest in training the next generation of doctors, they plan to remain closely involved with RVTS into the future.

They spoke about their path to Rural Generalist practice, and their RVTS experience, with Patrick Daley. Read more.

Train with RVTS!

Applications are now open for our January 2023 intake…but hurry, you only have until 4 September!

Choose RVTS to support you through training to General Practice or Rural Generalist Fellowship.

Renowned for its quality training in a supportive learning atmosphere, the RVTS program delivers the three to four year Fellowship training program through structured distance education and supervision. Doctors can complete their RACGP or ACRRM Fellowship while they continue to provide medical services to their remote and/or isolated community.

Doctors already working in an eligible MMM location can apply direct to the Remote Stream or Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) Stream. Check eligibility and read the applicant guides here.

Targeted Recruitment – there are 5 training positions available for Targeted Recruitment locations. Find out more and read the Targeted Recruitment Applicant Guide here.

Train with confidence with the support of RVTS. Visit to find out more and apply now!

Congratulations to our recently Fellowed registrars!

Dr Harbindar Singh
Dr Rochana Chandraratne
Dr Viraj Rajaguru

Dr Tom Atkinson
Dr Erin Hawkey

RVTS training update

Dr Ronda Gurney
RVTS Director of Training

It’s the end of August – 2022 is more than halfway done, and so much has been achieved this year! Welcome to the 22.2 Cohort who joined training at the end of June – it’s great to have you on board, and we hope that you enjoy your training with the RVTS family.

Welcome to the new supervisors who have joined as well, and thank you to the supervisors who returned to provide support to our registrars (or expanded their role to do so for this cohort). Read more.

Photo – RVTS Director of Training, Dr Ronda Gurney (third from right), and various members of the RVTS Medical Education team, pictured at the 2022 May Mini-Workshop.

Five minutes with Dr Vlad Matic

Outgoing RVTS Board Director, Dr Vlad Matic, is an icon of the rural medical community in Australia and has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the RVTS Board.

He has worked as a GP and GP Anaesthetist for more than 25 years in remote, rural and regional Australia, including 15 years in the northern NSW town of Walgett.

From 2011 to 2017, he was Director of Medical Services for the Wuchopperen Health Service, a community-controlled Aboriginal health organisation in Cairns.

Vlad took five minutes out of his busy schedule recently to answer a few questions for us!

Read more.

Changing things, one step at a time — meet the inspiring Marlene Drysdale, RVTS Cultural Educator

Professor Marlene Drysdale is a champion of cultural awareness – and her work at RVTS is critical in shaping a health system that is culturally safe and welcoming for First Nations people, now and into the future.

Patrick Daley chatted with Marlene recently about her own remarkable life journey, and why RVTS registrars (and their communities) gain so much from the cultural awareness training developed by our Cultural Education team.

  • Read our full Q&A with Marlene here.
  • Read other RVTS staff profiles here.

Photo top (left to right) – Professor Marlene Drysdale with RVTS CEO, Dr Pat Giddings and RVTS Chair, Dr Jacki Mein, at the launch of RVTS’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

Photo left – Marlene as a toddler, in her grandfather’s yard.

RVTS Targeted Recruitment:  A game-changer for rural communities

The introduction of the RVTS Targeted Recruitment Strategy in 2018 to boost the recruitment of doctors in locations of high medical workforce need has been a huge success…offering GP Fellowship training as an extra ‘carrot’ to attract doctors to some of Australia’s most remote communities.

RVTS Strategic Development Manager, Veeraja Uppal, has been involved with the strategy since its inception, and firmly believes it’s a game-changer in delivering more doctors to the bush. He provides a summary of the strategy, and its successes to-date, in this article. Read more.

“Bula!” in Boggabri:
A Fijian doctor’s experience on the Targeted Recruitment pathway

Originally from Fiji, Dr Salma Hanif moved from Tasmania to the small town of Boggabri in north-western NSW in 2020 to undertake her advanced GP training as part of RVTS’s Targeted Recruitment pathway.

She has been really pleased with the support and training provided by RVTS, as well as the welcoming nature of the local community.

Read more by clicking here.

Photo top 
Dr Salma Hanif (courtesy Ochre Health).

Salma enjoying the sunshine on South Sea Island, Fiji.

Opportunities for Medical Educators to join the RVTS workshop planning team

RVTS delivers training workshops as a major part of the overall delivery of the GP and Rural Generalist Fellowship Training program. Workshops cover a range of areas including procedural skill development, communication skills, professionalism, Emergency Medicine training, cultural training and specific clinical topics.

Find out more and submit an expression of interest.

GP support roles

RVTS is always interested to hear from experienced GPs from all over Australia who would like to inspire and support the next generation of GPs in rural, remote and First Nations communities. Doctors interested in becoming an RVTS Supervisor or Clinical Teaching Visitor can find more information by clicking here.

Received Journeys from a colleague and want to subscribe?

We welcome the sharing of our quarterly e-newsletter with interested colleagues! If this edition has come to you from someone else, subscribe here [email protected] and we will add you to our distribution list for the next edition.

About our cover art

“Walking Together” is an artwork created by artist Wendy Rix for RVTS, using our existing corporate colours. “Walking Together” represents the healing journey that RVTS undertakes with patients, doctors, health staff and communities. The artwork was commissioned in line with the RVTS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and is 30x40cm acrylic on canvas. Wendy is a contemporary Indigenous visual artist living in Queensland, Australia. Her family are from Goodooga, New South Wales, and she is a descendant of the Yuwaalaraay people of that area. Wendy is a trained nurse, but painting is her passion. Read more at