Viewpoint: Why I'm Choosing General Practice: Bethan Robinson

When people used to ask me 'What sort of doctor to you want to be?', I used to reply 'I'm not really sure, but I guess I'll figure it out during medical school where I can try a bit of everything.'

Bethan Robinson: 'Being a GP simply means that I get the chance to support patients throughout the highs and lows.'
Bethan Robinson: 'Being a GP simply means that I get the chance to support patients throughout the highs and lows.'

Currently being  a third year student with placement most days, I have experienced lots of different healthcare environments and have met a lot of patients along the way. One thing I have recurrently noticed throughout placement is the buzz that I get when I chat to the patients, and this was especially apparent in my GP rotation.

During my hospital attachments, it was great to talk to patients on the ward, but I hated not being able to follow them up or know what happened to them after they left the hospital. That's what is different about a GP. You are given the opportunity to witness and support people of all ages throughout their lives and also through what may be the most difficult times in their life.

GPs allow the patient to feel comfortable straight away

A GP is often the first point of call for a patient, and sometimes the beginning of a long line of doctors and specialists that the patient may see. This makes it so important that GPs allow the patient to feel comfortable straight away and to provide them with a good experience from the start, as this is key to the continuity of care. As a GP, you build a bond with you patients, a relationship where your patients have complete trust in you. Having this bond allows patients to reveal discomforting symptoms which they may not have told anybody else.

Another great part of the job is the range of people, ages and illnesses that you see. No two days will ever feel the same! One minute you're treating a little boy with asthma, the next you are injecting steroids for carpal tunnel syndrome.  And now, more and more people are going into sub-specialities. So, as well as seeing a wide variety of illnesses, you also get to specialise in something you're really interested in.

As well as the patient side of things, working in a GP practise is a great environment to really get to know the other doctors properly, allowing you to build effective professional relationships. It also  provides you with the opportunity to become a partner in the practise, enabling you to access the managerial side of the business.

For me though, being a GP simply means that I get the chance to support patients throughout the highs and lows in their health. Is there really a greater privilege than that?

  • Bethan Robinson is a third year medical student at Cardiff University.

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