Dr Nicola Hempton named Severn Deanery trainee of the year

Dr Nicola Hempton has been named overall trainee of the year at the Severn Deanery's GP school.

Dr Nicola Hempson and Dr Robin While
Dr Nicola Hempson and Dr Robin While

The awards were established to recognise outstanding GPs-to-be, after the RCGP ceased to award distinctions for exceptional trainees undertaking the MRCGP exams.

Dr Hempton told GP she was ‘delighted’ to have been selected as the overall Severn Deanery GP trainee of the year. She said the awards ceremony had offered a fantastic chance to find out about the extraordinary work other trainees had done, and to talk about her own experiences.

‘It is fantastic to be recognised when you have worked hard and been involved in extra things,' she said. 'I think the real value of the ceremony was to share the experiences with others – other nominees had fantastic presentations, experiences we would not otherwise have been aware of.’

Dr Hempton’s own work over the last year offers an insight into the dedication of some GP trainees. ‘I was the leadership scholar for the Bristol patch – we get an extra month of training, with an extra 20 days of study leave to use for leadership opportunities,’ she said.

Dr Hempton used this time to take part in a King’s Fund leadership course, sitting in on clinical commissioning group (CCG) board meetings and other forums.

She took part in an ‘exceptional funding panel’ meeting – at which commissioners decide whether to make an exception for a particular clinical case and fund a treatment they would not usually agree to pay for.

‘Before becoming a leadership scholar I had very little understanding of the NHS structure as a whole, I shied away from all that.

‘But afterwards I shared the learning with my fellow SP3s and did a session on the structure of the NHS, which I hope helped them to learn about the NHS reforms and so on.’

She said the experience would ‘not necessarily’ push her towards wanting to work in a CCG, however. ‘One aim of this is to realise that all of us as GPs are leaders, whether nationally or in CCG roles,’ Dr Hempton said.

‘I am particularly keen on developing leadership within my own practice, but in future it is something I’d be keen to be involved in developing on a national level.’

Dr Hempton describes education and promoting general practice as a career as ‘my passion’.

She said: ‘I attended a careers fair for fourth-year medical-school students, and was surprised about how little they knew about what general practice can offer. So I set up a general practice society at the university of Bristol.’

The society now has an elected student committee and holds termly meetings with keynote speakers, and other events to allow students to meet trainee GPs and get an insight into general practice.

‘We worked alongside things that were already happening within the deanery,’ Dr Hempton said.

‘I think I can put a personal spin on it, my reasoning for choosing general practice, hopefully they’re able to relate to me a bit more.’

Not content with these achievements for 2012, Dr Hempton managed to fit in one final thing – she got married.

This year she will continue to work in education, having landed a 12-month fellowship as an educator with the Severn Deanery. She will also be working as a locum at practices around Bristol.

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