A Katherine-based doctor has been awarded for her dedication and enthusiasm in training those beginning a career in medicine.
Dr Megan Cope, the senior medical officer at Wurli-Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service, was named GP Supervisor of the Year at the Northern Territory General Practice Education (NTGPE) annual awards on the weekend.
Dr Megan Cope moved to Katherine from the urban centre of Wollongong in New South Wales with her husband and two children in 2006 to work at the Aboriginal controlled organisation.
The family fell under the spell of the laid-back town and have never looked back.
"All my GP training was in an urban environment, so we came on an adventure, and we loved it," Dr Cope said.
"Since then, we have added another child to the nest. Life is simple, and things are a bit slower paced, so you can just live in a more fuss-free way and have more time with the family."
The awards celebrate the knowledge, capabilities, and commitment of GP training practices, supervisors, and registrars across the NT, with this year's winners are based in Darwin, Gove, Alice Springs, and Katherine.
Dr Cope said she was not expecting to win the award when she travelled to Darwin as one of three finalists in the category.
"I was very surprised but incredibly honoured to receive it as it acknowledges a lot of work that I've been doing with GP registrar training at Wurli for the last 13 years," she said.
"It was such an awesome thing to be able to be recognised. But in saying that, you know everything that we do is always about the journey and who goes on that journey with us.
"I'm in awe of the registrars that I've worked with over the many years. They've been an incredible bunch, and it expands your own learning by helping them learn things as well.
Dr Cope said a significant part of her role is to ensure appropriate accreditation of registrars who come through the health service and support them in their clinical understandings of how the business operates.
"Things like how Medicare works, how you do general practice, and how you provide care in a primary health care setting," she said.
"Especially, providing care in a primary health care setting in a remote location working with Aboriginal people."
To help the next generation of GP's is one of the most wonderful parts of my job here at Wurli.Dr Megan Cope
And while the majority of registrars Dr Cope has trained have been from the Northern Territory, she says many of them have come from interstate and overseas, and have never worked in a remote location or an Aboriginal medical service.
"And they have absolutely thrived," she said.
"There are quite a few that do come back after completing their training as well - more so lately than there ever have been. So that's good news because it is building the GP workforce for Katherine."
Last year Aly Knell was a joint winner of the NTGPE Registrar of the Year award, and she is now working alongside Dr Cope at the Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service.
Dr Cope said she wanted to thank the Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service for supporting the registrar program.
"And all the staff who support registrars in all sorts of other ways and NTGPE who do an awesome amount of work for registrars and supervisors," she said.
Other 2021 winners to follow Dr Cope up onto the stage were Dr John Floridis from Nhulunbuy who received the Dr Debbie Stach GP Registrar of the Year award, and Monica Mu and Valerie Quah who were named as Ada Wilmadda Parry Aboriginal Health Scholarship recipients.
The Professor Alan Walker Memorial Scholarship recipients were Rosa Coleridge, Yansum Lim, and Bronwyn Jones, while the Training Post of the Year award went to the Mall Medical Centre in Alice Springs.
NTGPE Chief Executive Officer Stephen Pincus said it was fantastic to celebrate the award winners this year at a traditional in-person awards ceremony after last year's ceremony was cancelled due to COVI-19.
"It was a difficult decision to cancel the face-to-face NTGPE Awards night last year, so it was great to be able to present our 2021 award and scholarship winners in person once again," he said.
"We think it is more important than ever to recognise our outstanding registrars, supervisors, and training facilities across the Territory for their demonstrated excellence in practice, education, and community impact.
"I congratulate all the winners on receiving their awards. It is great recognition for their excellent achievements in 2021."
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