Thriving as a new GP - Ten pearls of wisdom

31 August 2021

Your career as a GP will be filled with opportunity, growth and the ability to make a difference to thousands of people, but it is not without its challenges. The useful tips in this section will help to get you started and comfortable with all the things you can do to embrace your new career.

1. Grow your network

The support networks you enjoyed as a trainee can seem to disappear once qualified but this needn’t be the case. Actively take steps to find support, both clinical and non-clinical, ideally beyond your own practice team. Having a supportive practice is a great place to start, however there are also First5 peer support groups in some areas, or you can start your own. Social media groups, attending local events or the RCGP Annual Conference are all great ways to meet like-minded peers.

2. Choosing your job

You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the career for you. However, it is important to remember that you are not tied into one way of working throughout your career. Remember the choice you make should be one that works both for you and your family. Visit the careers options section of the First5 Transition Handbook for further guidance’

3. Planning ahead

There are lots of things about working as a GP that can have an impact on your life or your plans. Applying for that first mortgage, parenthood or going off sick are all life events we may have to deal with at some point in our careers. Plan, plan, plan! Planning ahead wherever possible will usually prepare you for the nuances and unpredictability that these events can bring.

4. Sorting your finances

Pensions, self-assessments, PAYE, indemnity and membership fees are just some of the things you need to be thinking about when you begin your work as a GP. Visit our healthy finances resource for an overview of the most important aspects.

5. Keep up-to-date

Investing in your continuing professional development (CPD) will ensure that you keep learning and contributing towards your appraisal. Make the most of opportunities available and really embrace the idea of lifelong learning. Try to keep on top of CPD as you go along. It may seem daunting but devoting regular small amounts of time to this will save you all that cramming later along the line. For further guidance on CPD.

6. Preparing for your appraisals

Your appraisal is a chance to reflect on what you’ve done, what you’ve learnt and to focus on the future and what you’d like to achieve. They should be a positive experience where you can chat freely and openly with your appraiser. Make contact early with your appraiser to become familiar and find out if they have any particular requests from you such as when to release your portfolio, timing/location of appraisal meeting etc. For further appraisal support, please visit here.

7. Get help if things are tough

Being a GP is a great job but it’s stressful sometimes and can be overwhelming when you’re not feeling your best. We’ve provided a section in Chapter 2 dedicated to helping you get support and spotting the signs that you might need some help. We’re here to help and support you.

8. Life outside your job

Being a GP is a great job but it’s stressful sometimes and can be overwhelming when you’re not feeling your best. We’ve provided a section in Chapter 2 dedicated to helping you get support and spotting the signs that you might need some help. We’re here to help and support you.

9. Explore your clinical interests at work

Take a look at Chapter 2’s career information. There’s plenty to help you get your teeth into your clinical interests and take opportunities to develop them. Your interests keep GPs moving forward in knowledge and expertise so it’s well worth pursuing them.

10. Don't stand still

If you enjoy your job then that’s great, but if you don’t you can change it. That’s the beauty of being a GP. You have the chance to decide how you work, what you specialise in and who you help. The following chapter offers plenty of insight into what these options are so if you’re keen for change, then go ahead and take the plunge.

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