Dr Eugene Teh is a General Medicine consultant working in metropolitan Melbourne. Our discussion with him today centres around the growing and ever-changing role of the generalist, which is no longer a “specialty by default”. Indeed, Dr Teh explains why the idea of dual specialties is becoming increasingly popular in his field.

We chat with Eugene about the benefits of the “holistic” approach general medicine offers to doctors. This not only involves a breadth of systems but considerations of the patient, including psychological and social needs. We talk about the “challenge” of diagnosis, an aspect of the specialty he stresses students must enjoy. However, with an increasingly ageing population with multiple chronic illnesses, Eugene finds it difficult to “cure” his patients. Instead, he has learnt to manage them, a distinction we must keep in mind in order to prevent becoming disillusioned by or frustrated with our goals.

As students, Eugene, like most, encourages us to “enjoy student life” while making sure we “tick the boxes”. He emphasises the importance of not only a well-rounded resume but character. Dr Teh explains why and how we should take plenty of time to commit to a field as he did, as well as the critical role mentors play in clinical years.

Practically, Eugene’s profession involves the usual combination of clinics, ward rounds, private work, teaching and research, with the reasonable physician consultant hours one would expect. We talk about the benefits of choosing one’s hours as a consultant, but the hassle of doing so across multiple sites. As we often see, Eugene’s focus shifted towards his family once he established himself. On a side note,  let’s not forget to keep our own families in mind, even in our years of study!

If you have any other questions you’d like us to ask Dr Eugene Teh, fill out the form below or shoot us a message!

Pathways into General Medicine

Medical School → Internship → Basic Physician’s Training (3 years full time equivalent) → Advanced Training in General & Acute Care Medicine (3 years full time equivalent) → Option to do an extra year in a different speciality for dual training → Consultant

Source: Royal Australian College of Physicians

Salary

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

  • 500 female general medicine specialists earning an average of $207,225
  • 1,023 male general medicine specialists earning an average of $315,114
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