Dr Nicola Davis is a GP and a medicolegal adviser. Today, we talk to her about her experience in both fields, including what training she had to undertake to become a qualified adviser, and what medical students can do to get a taste of this often unheard of field. She discusses the diversity that having two roles brings to her weekly routine, and how each role and the patients and doctors she meets through them have contributed to her overall understanding of medicine.

We chat about the most common complaints filed against doctors as well as (most importantly!) some  practical preventative advice on how to avoid these in the first place without practicing ‘defensive medicine’. This includes how to best stay up to date with the literature, communicate properly and document patient encounters. Nicola also gives great advice as to who we can contact and how to diffuse controversial encounters should they arise.

Nicola informs us what she has learnt from her patients as a GP over the years. She then contrasts the reward of helping her colleagues as a medicolegal adviser with the difficulty of untangling tricky situation. Her thoughts are highly insightful given that she is exposed to both the patient’s and doctor’s points of view. We talk about creating opportunities to travel, optimising our work-life balance and surviving and thriving on our own once we graduate, especially in a rural setting.

We hope you guys enjoy this podcast! Feel free to send through any questions you may have for Dr Nicola Davis, and give us feedback on this week’s episode by filling out the survey.

Pathways into General Practice

Medical School → Internship → Australian General Practice Program (3-4 years) → General Practitioner

Source: RACGP

Pathways into Medicolegal Advising

Master of Health and Medical Law (1 year)

Source:UniMelb (available at other universities around Australia)


According to the Australian Government Taxation Data, in the 2013-14 income year we had approximately:

  • 9,434 female general practitioners earning an average of $129,834
  • 11,178 male general practitioners earning an average of $184,639

Unfortunately, there was no data available for Medicolegal Advisors.

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We’d also like to give a quick shoutout to Melbourne artist SNED for composing the music accompanying our introduction.

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TMC013: General Practice and Medicolegal Advising with Dr Nicola Davis
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