Viewpoint: Why I'm Choosing General Practice: Heerani Woodun

When I think of my job in about five years' time, I see myself spending time in the workplace and also having a nice family time. I see challenges and a broad experience.

Heerani Woodun: 'GP training is the quickest to full qualification for a job with the best work-life balance.'
Heerani Woodun: 'GP training is the quickest to full qualification for a job with the best work-life balance.'

Indeed, a good work-life balance is one of the most coveted aspects of general practice, especially for ladies like me who aspire to raise a family; on-calls and emergencies are less likely and the office hours in general practice are more sociable.

Moreover, GPs face interesting challenges: having to sift out the common cold from the non-specific leukemia. The index of suspicion does require clinical judgement, making general practice more of a detective work and no less of other specialties.  Besides, it acts as a gateway to secondary care, a crucial role without which secondary care will be unable to cope with a huge demand.

General practice suits my personality as ‘a people’s person’

Furthermore, general practice is one of the fields that handles different specialties ‘under one roof’, dealing with a neonate with a respiratory infection to a young adult with gynaecological issues to an elderly patient with cardiovascular compromise. This variety at work renders work less monotonous and keeps the clinician’s broad knowledge of diverse specialties up to date.

Additionally, dealing with a range of patients, especially the chronic patient, allows GPs to build and maintain a long-term rapport and relationship with a patient. General practice suits my personality as ‘a people’s person’ as I like taking interest in people to know them better. I will easily have a holistic approach to my patients, promoting mutualistic consultations, a definite requirement of the GMC. My interpersonal skills also apply to my work colleagues. General practices have a small staff team, where one can get to know one another and appreciate each other’s work. It creates a sense of identity more effectively, making work an enjoyable experience for me.

On top of getting a broad experience, general practice is appealing in that we can have a special interest including surgery, which can be chosen according to our personal preference and also location of work. This brings up the aspect of management and authority that GPs have to deal with. The new NHS system gives GPs more autonomy to tailor their services to their patient groups. This will also allow me to develop leadership, organisational and managerial skills, which are really tempting to me as someone who likes leadership roles. Furthermore, the position of authority is quite interesting in that general practitioners are self employed and their own master and only GPs can refer to one specialty.

Finally, the training to becoming a GP is the quickest to full qualification for a job with the best work-life balance. Graduates become fully qualified GPs after two years of foundation and three years of GP training.

  • Heerani is a student at Newcastle University

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