Observe GP

Observe GP is an alternative to work experience for aspiring medics aged 16 and over, who are living in the UK. It is a free interactive video platform providing insights into the role of a GP and the wider primary care team. 

Medical Schools Council logo

Observe GP is supported by the Medical Schools Council as a suitable element of relevant experience to help prepare an application to medical school.

 

What is an interactive video platform?

It is a series of pre-recorded videos, housed together on one platform, with activities and key terminology appearing on screen. There are eight videos in total, with choice over which to view next. The videos showcase the roles of various team members in general practice including the GP, Practice Manager, Receptionist, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and a GP Trainee.

It is possible to view the platform on a phone but some elements do not adjust and thus we recommend viewing the platform on a computer screen or tablet (headphones are advised). 

Who is the platform for?

The platform has been designed specifically for young people aged 16 and over who are interested in applying to study medicine. 

I am under the age of 16, can I use the platform?

Sadly not, to gain access to the platform, pupils are required to complete a registration form, providing some personal information. A link is then sent via email to access the platform. Legally the RCGP would be required to gain parental/guardian consent for any pupils under 16 who share their personal data with us. It is not possible for us to do this and so, at this time, pupils aged under 16 unfortunately aren’t able to register to access the platform. The content of the experience has also been carefully designed for pupils aged 16 and over.

We do not wish to diminish the motivation of any pupil under the age of 16. In the meantime, they can access advice about applying to medicine on our aspiring medics page and see our aspiring medics flyer [PDF] for recommendations of books to read and podcasts to listen to. The College also discourages pupils under the age of 16 completing work experience in a general practice setting.  

I don't live in the UK, can I use the platform?

Currently, registration to access the platform is only open to aspiring medics living in the UK.  The platform is a brand new, exciting and trailblazing project for us and a huge learning curve. 

We have been overwhelmed by the popularity of the platform and we will be reviewing access to it overtime. We are aware that there are aspiring medics living outside the UK who would like to complete the platform. We would like to open this up to you, but just bear with us. This requires some consideration, we want to do this right, and be sure that we are providing what is useful and appropriate for you.

In the meantime, we don’t want to discourage your interest in Medicine. We recommend some book and podcast suggestions on this aspiring medics flyer [PDF].  We also recommend downloading and printing our reflective diary [PDF] to help you when taking notes and developing your understanding of medicine. 

 

What is the purpose of Observe GP?

Applicants to medicine are required to demonstrate on their application - and at interview - that they have gained an understanding of some of the realities of medicine and that they have witnessed and developed the core values and attributes needed to study medicine. Observe GP has been designed as an innovative way for aspiring medics to learn more about these. In the past applicants have been required to complete work experience in a healthcare setting to gain this insight. This interactive platform is designed to do the same from the comfort of the classroom or home.

 


"I wish that Observe GP had existed when I was applying to medical school. Being the first in my family to apply to medical school and having difficulty organising work experience with no medical contacts was challenging, innovations like this are long overdue!." Dr Devina Maru, GP Trainee

Do you have to do clinical work experience to gain a place at medical school?

In recent years many UK medical schools have changed their entry requirements to reflect that 'relevant experience' is required but not specifically clinical work experience. Entry requirements for all UK medical schools can be viewed on the following Medical Schools Council (MSC) resource.

The MSC have also created guidance about what is relevant experience when applying to medical school. Clinical work experience is one way, but not the only way - Observe GP offers an alternative. Applying to medical school is not about ticking a box and obtaining a set number of hours of work experience, it is about the ability of applicants to reflect on what they have learnt about and how they can articulate this. Work experience is also not always easy to find for many reasons but Observe GP is available to everyone.

Observe GP is supported by the Medical Schools Council as a suitable element of relevant experience to help prepare an application to medical school. This means that all applicants should look to gain insight from a variety of relevant experiences, of which one can be Observe GP.   

A few medical schools request evidence of work experience as part of their application process to study medicine. Completing Observe GP cannot be used as an example of work experience and no letter or certificate is provided upon completion. Aspiring medics should use Observe GP to gain insights, reflect and to provide examples at medical school interview. 

But doesn't Observe GP provide the same insights for every pupil?

There are benefits to work experience, but it can also be a huge time commitment for all involved, depending on timing it may not be possible for pupils to observe key areas of medicine. Observe GP offers the most important lessons and has been developed by GPs, healthcare professionals and those involved in admissions to medical school. Yes, every pupil can watch the same content, but it is up to them to reflect on it, learn from it, ask questions and put this knowledge to use with further research and conversations. 

Aspiring medics are encouraged to download and, if they can, print our reflective diary [PDF] to use while completing Observe GP.  

How long does it take to complete the platform?

If you watch all elements of the platform in one go and complete all the activities accordingly - while reflecting and taking notes - we estimate it should take between 1.5 and 2 hours. However, it is possible to use the link sent via email, multiple times, therefore pupils may wish to watch some elements and return to the rest later. If pupils return to the platform, using the same private device, they can resume the platform where they left off – their progress is shown on the navigation pane on the right-hand side. 

Why is there no certificate of completion?

When you complete all the activities and watch all the videos on Observe GP, we do not provide a completion certificate, there are a couple of reasons for this: 

1) Gaining relevant experience to apply to study medicine is not a tick-box exercise,. What is important is what you learn and how you reflect, not how much experience you gain. A certificate does not provide evidence of what you have taken from the experience, just that you have done it. 

A core attribute of a medical student is a’ motivation to study medicine and genuine interest in the medical profession’ . We believe that any true aspiring medic is aiming to learn as much as they can, and so they will complete all of Observe GP without a certificate. All eight videos contain information we want you to learn about. On the platform, we can view how many aspiring medics have completed all the content, but not who, we have faith that the majority of aspiring medics will complete all the sections. 

2) Usually, on e-Learning platforms, a certificate is automated upon completion. However, this requires you to log in to the platform. We don’t own the platform, and so aspiring medics would have had to share their data with a third party. To protect your privacy, we set up registration with us but without the need for you to log into the platform itself. 

We will be reviewing the platform over time and we may decide in the future to design functionality to create a certificate. For now, the evidence that you have completed Observe GP in full will be the lessons and understanding you have gained and can use in your personal statement and during medical school interviews.  

I want to be a doctor, why are there videos with other members of the primary care team?

The true realities of medicine cannot be obtained without full consideration for all the roles within different NHS teams. All staff members work together to deliver patient care and it is important for an applicant to understand and value the importance of teamwork. The videos are designed to allow you to observe differing members of the primary care team.

The platform doesn't contain videos of all the primary care team, are you planning on adding to it?

Absolutely! We have more scenarios and more roles to showcase soon. The hope is that we can continue to add elements to the platform overtime and keep it up-to-date. We could, in the future, for example have videos showing a GP on a home visit, a physiotherapist consultation, a patient with dementia, or give the user a choice between visiting a rural practice or an urban practice. The possibilities are endless. Watch this space! 

I am a teacher/careers adviser

Can I use the platform? Of course! It is also available for staff members who work in outreach or widening participation in universities or social enterprises.

We welcome these staff members familiarising themselves with the content.   It may be that you wish to use Observe GP as part of a session with a group of aspiring medics in a classroom or online. On our raising awareness of Observe GP web page we have guidance for using Observe GP as part of a group session.

There is a separate button below to register to gain access to Observe GP. We ask for some basic information, you will receive a link to the platform via email upon completion of the registration form. We ask that the link to Observe GP is not shared with aspiring medics, instead please encourage them to register with us, it is important that we can monitor use of the platform so that we can add to it in the future.  

Brighton and Sussex resource

Brighton and Sussex Medical School Virtual Work Experience

We are delighted to also recommend the Brighton and Sussex Medical School 'Virtual Work Experience' which provides insights into medicine for those considering making an application to  medical school.

Users are introduced to the NHS before exploring the roles and skill sets required to work across six different medical specialties. Along the way, users can also consider some of the challenges and wider issues doctors face working in the NHS.

COVID-19 

When we began work on Observe GP, in 2019, we were motivated by the need for alternatives to work experience. We never could have imagined that this requirement would be elevated to such an extreme by the crisis we currently face. We are delighted to be supported by the Medical Schools Council featuring in their Guidance on gaining relevant experience to study medicine in the time of Covid-19 [PDF]. The aim of the platform was always to show young people some of the realities of general practice and shine a light on the fantastic work undertaken in #TeamGP. We hope that young people enjoy watching the videos and reflect upon this. 

We dedicate the platform to all those working in general practice and the wider NHS family, who have risked their lives to keep us safe during this crisis.  

Sadly, we aren’t Netflix

Observe GP is an interactive platform featuring video content; it contains a lot of information which requires transmitting via the internet to your device at home i.e. bandwidth. This is a new project for us, we hope there won’t be, but realistically there may be some teething problems. We are delighted with the high-quality product we have created, even without the resource and budget of Netflix! We will be continually updating and developing the platform and will look into any issues that occur. We recommend opening the platform in Google Chrome or Apple Safari. 

While some aspects are viewable on a mobile phone, at this time, many of the activities are not compatible with mobile devices, therefore we recommend it is used on laptop, desktop or tablet.

If you experience any technical difficulties while using the platform, please try the following steps:

  • Refresh the page
  • Clear cookies from your browser
  • The platform requires a good Wi-Fi connection. Try switching off Wi-Fi from other devices in your home as this can slow down connection i.e. your phone. You may also wish to try again later when Wi-Fi connection may have improved. Currently, there is a huge increase in internet use nationwide. 
  • We appreciate this may not be possible, but if you have access to another device, try launching the platform on this instead.
  • If all this fails switch off your computer/device, wait 30 seconds and start it again.

If you experience any difficulties, please try the suggestions above first. If the issues continue, we need to know about it so we can get it fixed for you! Please contact us including the exact time the problem occurred, type of device you are using (desktop, laptop or tablet) and browser you are using - this will help the company who house the platform to identify the issue and fix it. Contact us at schools@rcgp.org.uk 

If you do email us, we aim to respond as fast as possible because we don’t want any aspiring medic to face problems but do bear with us during this incredibly busy time. Please note our inbox is not checked after 5pm on weekdays or over the weekend.

Before registering  

  1. Watch the introductory video above, so you have an idea of what to expect.
  2. Download and, if you can, print our reflective diary [PDF] to write notes and complete complementary activities.
  3. Once you have registered you will be sent an email with a link to the platform, this may take a few minutes, be sure to check your junk mail. 

What data do you collect and why?

Aspiring medics and teachers are asked to complete a registration form (buttons below) to gain access to Observe GP. We ask for some personal information e.g. name, email address, country you live in within the UK. We collect this information so that we can determine the geographical spread of who is using the platform and so that we can send you an email containing a link to the platform. For further information about how your data is processed follow through to the privacy statement on the registration form.
Aspiring medics register here Teachers register here

Observe GP is supported by:

 University of Birmingham logo Aston Medical School logo

 Edinburgh Medical School logo  University of East Anglia logo 

University of Dundee logo   Hull York Medical School

Medical schools can provide their support by contacting: schools@rcgp.org.uk

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