To me, working in general practice is the closest medicine can get to the real world, to seeing patients in their natural habitat, in the roles they’ve chosen and in the clothes they choose to wear. In general practice patients are often more at ease in the familiar, less clinical environment. This allows for better consultations as patients are more open to disclose important details when they feel comfortable. This setting also reminds us that patients are people first and require the respect and autonomy we all deserve.
Having seen patients both in a seat at general practice and in a hospital bed I can easily see that they would much rather be in that seat than be stripped of their role and routines in hospital. Obviously hospital admission is only done as a necessity in order to significantly improve or save a patient’s life so I appreciate why medicine must become more invasive sometimes.
GPs are at the core of every community
Nonetheless, I would like to keep patients in that consultation seat for as long as I can. A good GP can do this. Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention are best applied in a GP setting and this is why I think GPs act as a vital filter for patients, picking up the potentially serious cases, preventing complications, effectively managing chronic illness so it never has to progress to more serious stages. GPs are at the core of every community and so are perfectly placed to discuss and promote health with their patients.
When I think about being a GP, I don’t think of it as a ‘stress-free nine to five’ job (having seen how hard my GP tutors work I know that it is not). Instead, I think of it as a continuous challenge to do your best for your community. I believe every GP can consider it their responsibility to make their little corner of the world a better place. This is a difficult task as patients can often be reluctant to change unhealthy habits, and often have very challenging lifestyles to contend with.
However, if a patient is going to do something to improve their health, I believe they are more likely to do it with the help and support of a well-informed GP who will be there to monitor and motivate them throughout their life. Patients may have become more autonomous in how they manage their health but they will always value the role of a GP who cares about them. I want to become a GP so I can inform, advise and treat people in the comfort and familiarity of their own community.
I would like to help each patient to live as long and healthy a life as possible, by acting as their doctor, confidante, and a valuable member of their community.
Sita is a student at Birmingham University
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