I am a GP in Palmerston North and previously was an Orthopaedic Registrar. As happens to all GPs with a particular interest, you naturally seem to see a lot of patients in that field and become the go-to person in the practice. So when a position became vacant in the Musculoskeletal Medicine Clinic at Palmerston North Hospital, I decided that it was time to up-skill and return to formal training in this field and so enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma of Musculoskeletal Medicine with the University of Otago.
I have found the Diploma invaluable in terms of what was taught on the course, but also in approaches to continuing my own education. It stimulated an interest to not only read about a condition in the relevant textbook, but particularly to read about the latest research in that area and where to find this.
The Diploma provides a breadth of knowledge in the papers you choose to take, but I particularly enjoyed the depth of knowledge presented. For example, in modules such as Musculoskeletal Tissues and Neurobiology of Pain, these would not be the typical subjects I would chose to delve into in such depth, but they were so informative and interesting, presenting the latest research on these subjects, which was fascinating. I use this knowledge in daily practice when I see patients with everyday soft tissue injuries or pain, but can now see it at a different level, of pain pathways in the brain or tissue remodeling in that sprained ankle. It has given a fresh perspective to the pre-clinical training of medical school, it has made it relevant.
The Diploma does take a commitment of time. There is a significant weight of reading to complete between the videoconferences and also coursework to complete each semester. I did find it “do-able”, even with full time work and more recently on maternity leave with twins! It took me a little over four years to complete the Diploma, this was thanks to the flexible nature of the course.
I am now considering continuing on with further musculoskeletal medicine training and study.