The Barracks’ practice is staffed by a mixture of civilian and uniformed doctors. Among the uniformed doctors, there are some who have joined with no prior service in the military and some doctors who have had previous service.
"It's good to have doctors who are fresh off the street who have a different perspective, and doctors who have been in the military before who have a good understanding of the nuances of service."
Serving as a GP in the Defence Force means Dr Worswick may be deployed at any time. So, like many doctors working in rural areas, he needs to be ready for just about anything.
"The Army doctor will go out with a nurse and a couple of medics to the middle of nowhere and what you can carry in on your back, or in the back of a Land Rover, is what you have to deal with whatever crisis might arise. So it presents some unique challenges."
Dr Worswick says he is grateful for the support he has received from the Australian Defence Force, the Australian GP colleges, and training provider James Cook University. He hopes the organisations continue to work cooperatively to attract people to pursue medical careers within the Defence Force, and to ensure ADF doctors are well-supported in their training.
"Being able to help people and learn about them is a privileged position to be in. Being an older student, coming from a different career, having served overseas, and working with young men and women in the Army, plus raising my own family – all these are life experiences I have found to be beneficial, certainly when relating to my patients.
"The thing about medicine in a rural or regional area is that it's so fascinating, and nearly every patient has an interesting story to tell. Every day is a new learning experience and to have the opportunity to do this later in life is a real privilege."
JCU GP Principal Medical Educator, Dr Paula Heggarty, helps manage the ADF doctors.
"James Cook University is the provider of general practice training in north western Queensland. There are several Australian Defence Force bases in the region and we welcome ADF doctors into the program and do our utmost to provide the highest levels of support," said Dr Heggarty.
JCU is contracted by the Australian Department of Health to deliver the AGPT program in North Western Queensland.