Career Stories - Dr Andy Jennings
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Dr Andy Jennings

Post CCT Fellow research and teaching,
Yorkshire

I’m a GP working in a post-CCT fellowship role at Haxby Group Practice in Yorkshire, combining my clinical role with research and teaching.

I was a post-graduate trainee in Medicine, after first completing an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences. After graduating I did some work experience with a GP in West Yorkshire, which ignited my passion for medicine. I shadowed a GP who had been an integral part of the community he lived and worked in and I could see the positive impact he made on his patients and their families.

When I applied for graduate medicine, it was always with the intention of becoming a GP. Unfortunately, there seems to be a historical view that GP is the easy option in medicine, and it was sometimes met with derision that this was my chosen career path. This viewpoint wasn’t going to put me off and after doing a GP rotation during my F2 year, it completely solidified in my mind what I wanted to do.

I combine my GP role with a day concentrating on research and two half days teaching at Hull York Medical School. I did a rotation at Haxby as a registrar and returned here after I qualified as they offered opportunities for me to combine my interests.

My current research project is analysing the impact of the electronic triage system that we piloted in November last year, then rolled out across the practice in February – in some ways perfect timing just before we faced lockdown due to COVID-19. I’m examining quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the success of the system and understand how it has made a difference to the way we are treating our patients. I’ve also carried out other research, including having an article published on the growth of portfolio careers.

The teaching aspect of my job is something else I really enjoy. I focus on problem-based learning with medical students and the energy you get from them is a real boost if you’ve had a tough few days treating patients in the surgery.

For me that’s the main benefit – being a GP is a challenging and demanding job that can take a lot from you, but I manage this by creating my own job plan, which I feel is something that only GP offers you. You must enjoy the bread and butter of being a GP and I do love seeing and treating patients, but the job is so fulfilling as I can also focus on other interests.

During training I worked in sports medicine for a local football team, covering match days and treating players. I’ve also been involved in the political side, as a GP registrar representative for the LMC. Getting involved and exposed to all these different elements enthuses you even more for the job, and it’s true when they say the opportunities are endless.

For those considering a job in GP, I would encourage you to speak to current GPs to get a full picture of what the job is like. Think about what you enjoy and how you can embed this into your work. It’s also important to find the right practice that will support you in creating a job plan that is right for you. I formed a close peer group with fellow GP trainees and that has also proved invaluable to get me through training and exams, as well as being able to share experiences and learning as we have all qualified.

My advice for trainees who may face negativity for their decision to become a GP is to remember that being a good GP is just as difficult as being at the top of your field in an acute specialty. I strive to be the best GP I can be and the range of work I am involved in helps me to achieve this. One of the many benefits of working in Yorkshire is that my patients tell me how it is and will let me know if they think I’ve done a good job! It’s a great feeling when you build that relationship with patients and they come back to see you – you’re an important part of their community and their lives, and you can see the positive impact that you’re having.

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