By Dr Matilda Esan
“I would like to speak to a Doctor not a GP!” - this is one of my favourite quotes, from a recent conversation I had with a prospective medical student.
My name is Matilda and I am a GP Registrar working in London. I trained at Kings’ College Medical School and graduated in 2015.
During my time at Medical School, nothing got my heart racing like a good shift in the Emergency department. In fact, I loved it so much I used to wake up early to get some extra hours in before the other students came and packed it out.
Why I choose a Career in General Practice?
My passion for Emergency medicine continued throughout my foundation training .However the turning point came in F2, after I had completed a post in General Practice and was going to back to the Emergency department for a second time.
On returning, I found the learning experience was still amazing and it felt as good as it did before. However the issue for me was that things moved so quickly that I couldn’t follow up my patients and it was difficult to find out their outcomes. The other thing that got to me was the hours. They do get better as a senior, however in medicine you have to balance up what you think matters and go with your interest and your heart.
As a result of this, by the end of Foundation training I started to think of Emergency Medicine training vs GP training and after some careful thought, I chose GP training.
Life so far
I am a GPST2, currently still going through my hospital rotations. I have to say, I do not regret my decision to enter GP training. It has offered me great opportunities to learn and it has begun to teach me to think outside the box. Other aspects which I have enjoyed include : the great sense of community and comradery amongst trainees.
Meanwhile, additional advantages of GP training have been the regular protected teaching time, which allows you to cover a wide range of gaps in your knowledge and the GP Curriculum. The other thing you also find is doctors in hospital specialities actually want to teach you, because they want their patients to be looked after by good quality General Practitioners.
For me, hospital medicine rotations are not slavish or just part of the routine. I see them as an opportunity to fine tune my knowledge of evidence based medicine and this contributes to equipping me with the skills I need as an independent practitioner.
Finally, the perceptions people have of General Practitioners are really interesting. As outlined in the quote at the beginning of the article, it is unclear to some if we are even doctors!. I recently did one of my GP membership exams and it dawned on me like a slap in the face just how much General Practitioners know. They are a fountain of knowledge in lots of things, hence the term generalist. This exam made me realise that as a future generalist, it is indeed a massive privilege. If I had to summarise GP training so far, I would say it has been eye opening.