GP Registrars, are you considering your first GP position? Ask yourself these 6 questions...

11 November 2019 Helena Murphy

Depositphotos 106204912 S 2019

It’s a great time to be training to become a vocationally registered General Practitioner as qualified GPs are in high-demand across Australia, and there are a variety of interesting roles available for you to consider.


With so many options it can be difficult to work out what will be satisfying and rewarding, especially when looking for your first GP position.


It’s important to know that everyone is different, so choosing the right clinic or organisation for you is a very personal decision. 


Our team at Ensure Health Recruitment have put together a few questions and considerations to help you choose the right clinic for you once you have your fellowship.


1. Do I want to specialise?

You may have decided while doing your fellowship that you’d like to specialise.

If this is important to you, the location and patient demographic of a clinic will be a consideration, as it will likely impact on the extent you are able to utilise your chosen area of specialisation.

For example, if you want to work in women’s health or paediatrics you may want to consider whether potential practices have a lot of young families on the patient list. 

Or, if your area of interest is skin health, consider if potential clinics specialise in this area already and have advanced equipment like Dermengine.

If your interest is in aged care, you may want to ask potential practices if they look after any residential or nursing homes.

The important tip here is to talk to clinics about the patient list and breakdown of demographic in the area.

If a clinic currently offers a service in your specialist area, this can be a great advantage especially if there is a doctor who can become a mentor to you. It’s great for your development to work with a colleague who can pass on their experience and knowledge.

If a clinic doesn't offer your particular area as a specialisation, then it’s worth asking if it’s something they would support. Some clinics may even help market your specialisation to their client base and local community on your behalf.

2. What are my income expectations?

One of your main considerations when it comes to income is not just how busy the practice is but the type of billing the clinic does - bulk billing v.s. mixed billing. 

You need to look at more than just the percentage that you are being offered to properly understand the earning potential. The processes and systems the practice have in place and the quality of the nursing support will also impact on your earnings. For example, if a practice has a dedicated care plan nurse this could significantly increase your income potential. 

3. What size clinic will suit me best?

Ask yourself about the size and ownership of the clinic - do you have any preference with regard to these factors?

Perhaps you’re looking for a more intimate practice with a few colleagues where you might get together socially. Maybe you are more interested in being in a super clinic where you might work alongside many different colleagues with lots of specialisations. Some clinics will have a larger team of allied health professionals, dental services, pharmacy, and even specialists on site. This means you can refer within the building and keep the continuity of care under one roof, working as part of an extended team.

When it comes to ownership, some clinics are privately owned, some are owned by GPs, some are small groups of clinics under the same ownership, and some are part of larger corporates. Try not to assume that just because it’s a corporate clinic, it won’t give you the family feel you’re looking for - or vice versa. 

Even if you have a preference in ownership, what really matters is that you like and respect the people you work with, which brings me to my next point.

4. What culture am I looking for in a clinic?

When you’re considering clinics, researching online will only get you so far in getting a real feel for clinic culture. 

If culture is an important deciding factor for you, talk to your recruitment agency. We work very closely to understand clinic culture and ensure you’re joining the right team for you. 

Whether you’re hoping to just get your work done and head home, or if you want a team you can socialise with after hours, it’s still important to enjoy working with people in the clinic. It’s really important to visit the clinic and meet with the principal, some of the other doctors and clinic support staff. Ask plenty of questions and get a feel for how the team work together and whether it’s an environment you’ll be happy in.

5. What level of work-life balance am I looking for?

Consider what days and hours might work best for you and what work-life balance actually looks like for you. This will help you find a clinic that really allows you to have the work and life you want. 

Perhaps you want to pick up your children after school, or you like to go away for long weekends, or maybe you like to take every friday off. In reality, some clinics have a need for doctors to cover particular hours and days, while others can be very flexible.

It’s also worth being really clear about the travel distance from home that is preferable to you, as this can really encroach on your personal time.

6. How important is training and development support to me?

As a new fellow, what are you looking for from your clinic in terms of how you continue to develop as a doctor? 

Some clinics will have more emphasis on learning and development than others and some are even accredited training clinics. Clinics could offer anything from having weekly clinical meetings with your colleagues, to providing you with a mentor, or even offering financial incentives for you to attend lectures and seminars to further your skills.

You can find out about a clinic’s approach to training and development from your recruitment agency, and throughout the interview process.


A Final Word..


Once you’ve reflected on what you’re really looking for, we work with clinics across Australia and can help you in making this important decision. If you are ready to begin your job search, consider using Ensure Health as your starting point. 


And if you’re not quite ready to make a permanent decision, doing some locum work before you settle in can be a great way to experience a variety of different clinics and experiences.

Either way, partnering with Ensure Health means you will have a large range of clinics to consider, plus lots of other resources to draw upon. Please get in touch with Helena Murphy on 0451 003 518 or email