Retraining as a GP - Dr Yvonne Girgishanna

Retraining as a GP - Dr Yvonne Girgishanna

Dr Yvonne Girgishanna, GP in Cambridge.
Previously a Renal Registrar

'I have a verruca, Dr Hanna. Can you tell me how to get rid of it?'

My reaction?... laugh it off and slink away embarrassed. I was on a renal transplant ward in Guy's Hospital in London, training to become a renal specialist and couldn’t answer that simple question!

Why did I leave?

My 3rd year medical student GP placement took me to Devon. A small practice where I was welcome to sleep in the on call room and use the milk fridge to store my food.

'Come and have a look at this patient's retina and tell me what you think', said the senior partner - I see a retinal haemorrhage secondary to diabetic retinopathy.

The next patient is a sister of twins - both have Schizophrenia and attend the practice for their monthly depot injection.

It was the variety and interest that attracted me back to general practice... as well as the fact that I had given birth to my first child and commuting two hours to work was not an option any more.

Two years into my medical training I tentatively applied to train to be a GP. Two and a half years and another child later, I was qualified and offered a partnership in my training practice.

10 years on, I’m a GP trainer, appraiser with a portfolio career. Any combination of work goes in general practice; full-time, part-time, partnership, sessional or teaching - I have done them all. One of my recent trainees is working for Cambridge United Football club and attends their matches!

What do I enjoy about general practice?

Birth to death care is a privilege. Getting to know patients and their families, going into their homes. Treating them as a whole, not just their illness. The 'doctor as the medicine,' sounds corny but is true.

Any change in life is a massive decision, but general practice is a good one and was the right one for me. It means you can answer all those trivial and not so trivial questions at dinner parties and not hide under the tablecloth!

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