Elicia Swan (nee Rodas)
Current Role: General Practitioner
Clinical Teaching Visitor for GP Synergy
Did you always aspire to be in the job position you currently hold?
Since starting high school, I had aspired towards becoming a doctor. The type of doctor I wanted to become changed throughout university and then during my post-graduate training. Initially I wanted to be an Emergency Medicine Physician, then during Medical School I became interested in Paediatrics, and then whilst working at a children's hospital I realised that the sort of Paediatrics I was interested in practicing was in primary care, which is why I then went on to complete General Practice specialist training.
What have you done since leaving CTHS?
After graduating in 2005, I completed a Bachelor of Medical Science at Sydney University, then completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, also at Sydney University. I then moved to Wollongong to work as an Intern and Resident at Wollongong hospital, then worked as a Senior Resident Medical Officer at Westmead Children's Hospital. To gain extra skills in Paediatrics, I completed a Diploma of Child Health whilst working as an Intern. Last year I finished my specialist training and exams in General Practice and was awarded my Fellowship from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
I also have a passion for teaching. Since becoming a doctor, I’ve been involved in Medical Student teaching, then teaching Junior Doctors (Interns and Residents), and now I’m involved with teaching GPs in training (Registrars). My current role involves helping GPs improve their clinical and consultation skills, by observing their consultations with patients. It’s a great way of learning as the feedback and teaching I get to give is directly linked to patients they are seeing in their practice.
On a personal note, since leaving high school, I've gotten married, bought and renovated a house in Sydney with my husband, and we now also have two boys aged 4 and 2.
Describe your average work day....
I currently work in a private practice on Sydney's Northern Beaches. No two days in General Practice are ever the same, which is why I love it! As I have interests in paediatrics and women's health including pregnancy management, a lot of my consultations will be for these types of patients. But in a typical day I will also see patients for men's health, cardiac health, asthma management, diabetes management, mental health, skin cancer care including excisions, and aged care too, to name a few. In general practice it is also not uncommon to have to provide initial emergency management to patients prior to them being transferred to hospital. I've managed patients having heart attacks, strokes, acute asthma attacks, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), and fractures. Having such a varied work day means that as a GP, you are constantly learning and extending your skills. General Practice is also a very flexible career path for a doctor. You can work full-time, part-time, or somewhere in between. This has meant I can balance my career with being a mum, which I'm so grateful for.
Please share some words of wisdom for today's students...
Your career will evolve over your entire lifetime, so if you don't succeed at achieving your goal career via one path, there are always other avenues to try. I had initially planned on studying Medicine as an undergraduate degree through the University of NSW, however my UAI (ATAR) fell just short, which meant I had to complete another bachelor’s degree first, and then apply to study medicine as a post-graduate degree. While this did mean overall one additional year of study at university, in the long-term it has meant I have a really good foundation in sciences such as pharmacology and physiology, which has really helped me build my medical knowledge. It also meant that I was able to become involved in university teaching whilst completing my medical degree. I love teaching, and I wouldn't have had that opportunity had I entered straight into medicine from high school. Many of my peers had amazing other careers prior to deciding to study medicine. There were physiotherapists, nurses, architects, engineers, teachers, and scientists who had then decided to become doctors, which is great as we all had such a diverse set of experiences to build our medical knowledge upon.