Foundation Year 2 trainee, RCGP Co-Chair of Student and Foundation Doctor Committee, Hertfordshire
I’ve applied for and been accepted to start my GP training in London August (2019). I’m looking forward to the world of general practice and the educational, leadership and innovation opportunities that I know will come with it!
My interest initially stemmed from setting up and co-founding Liverpool’s first GP Society, which now has over four hundred members and won two national awards. As a Foundation Doctor I was selected to be the RCGP National Co-Chair for the Student and Foundation Doctor Committee. I’ve been involved in projects such as social prescribing, curriculum review, wellbeing projects, GP placement standardisation and involvement with regional Faculty Boards – a great way to gain early understanding of primary care and influence the future.
I think it’s an exciting era to join general practice. Family medicine has evolved from single practitioners to multidisciplinary enterprises. The development of Primary Care Networks will offer new leadership opportunities and roles which I can already see will help me to develop a portfolio GP career. Technology is constantly evolving and the GPs I’ve talked to are not afraid of embracing good and safe new methods. During GP training I’m sure there will be opportunities to learn about new technological advancements along with online and video consultations.
I’m aware of some archaic negative perceptions ruminating amongst some NHS colleagues about general practice which do need to change. I’m under no illusions that being a GP is really hard work and not an easy option! Don’t be afraid to break away from the well-trodden path. Medical practice is all about helping people and the first port of call for anyone with health needs is usually the GP – you could be the gateway to their recovery.
If you are unsure if GP is going to be the right career for you, just get involved and explore. Attend the annual RCGP Conference where generations are connected from the raw enthusiasm of Foundation Doctors to the invaluable wisdom and experience of retired GPs or attend the many local and national specialty recruitment fairs. Be prepared to leave feeling inspired, energised and motivated.
Providing continuity of care is not an outdated anachronism. Its valued by GPs and their patients. Why not explore a taster week or shadow a GP and you can see how GPs are able to support a patient and their family through the inevitable challenges that happen over a lifetime, resulting in a depth of connection with your patients that is unparalleled.
You can also ‘have your cake and eat it.’ There are ways you can combine the inherent breadth of general practice with an interest in one (or more) particular specialty, providing outpatient services in the community or in your local acute trust. Programme Directors are also very supportive in allowing you to pursue experiences during your training programme such as teaching and leadership fellowships.
Honestly, just get involved! The future of GP is bright with endless opportunities.