National Association for Patient Participation

NI Family doctors of the future

01 June 2017

We know general practice provides a challenging, diverse and rewarding career. RCGPNI is delighted to be working with Queen’s University and the QUB GP Society to promote the opportunities that life as a family doctor has to offer and to encourage them to #ThinkGP.

In June, RCGPNI is shadowing a number of medical students as they partake in voluntary GP electives across the region. Students will be working closely with various GPs to learn more about what it is really like to be family doctor in Northern Ireland – each student will also be taking over RCGPNI Twitter account for a day to share their experiences and what they have learned.

In advance of the Twitter takeover series, we spoke to medical student Molly Kerr to get her thoughts on her previous general practice placement and her experiences of primary care so far…

"Earlier this year, I spent three weeks in a busy general practice and it was one of my best placements to date. I really felt involved in the team and it reinforced my aspirations to become a qualified doctor by seeing patients on my own, taking histories and doing examinations, with subsequent presentation and discussion of the case to the GP I was working with.

“My placement did not only instil greater confidence in me - it demonstrated first hand the importance of a strong doctor-patient relationship and showed me that general practice is a specialty where continuity of care allows for this relationship to be a successful and important one.

“The sheer variety of the cases and conditions presenting in general practice lends itself to my liking of a range of specialties; both medical and surgical. Many family doctors offer special services, including women's health and minor surgery, and I find that I like different challenges each day - my experience in general practice certainly reinforced that a variety of presentations and manifestations can come through the door… there is no such thing as a typical day!

“Having the skills to treat and manage such a diverse range of conditions in an equally diverse patient cohort is exciting and fulfilling.  I also loved the home visits - allowing me to use a mix of both my medical knowledge and social engagement skills. As a true family doctor, often a GP will look after multiple generations of the same family, providing a cradle to grave service. I think that to be trusted to care for new-born babies as well as elderly patients, and everyone else in between, is a great privilege.

“Academia, has, and always will be an important part of my life. I would love to be able to pursue an academic career, at least in part.  In March, I attended the RCGPNI ‘GP Tips’ night and had the opportunity to speak with some very inspiring GPs who shared their educational journeys and provided insight into how to balance clinical and academic work.  Overall, the event was extremely useful and it was really encouraging to hear so many positive feelings about general practice as a career choice. I look forward to what the future might hold…”

RCGPNI series of summer electives will begin on 21 June, with six students getting involved in our Twitter Takeover over the following two weeks. You can follow the engagement on our Twitter page by following @rcgp_ni and #FutureGP – get involved in the conversation by sharing your positive experiences of general practice!

A huge thank you to Molly for sharing her thoughts and experiences with us. We wish her all the best in her future studies and career!

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