Sa'ud Jiwani: Why I'm choosing general practice

'The physician should not treat the disease but the patient who is suffering from it' - Maimonides.

As a year 12 student I was undertaking work experience in a GP surgery when I came across this quote. To this day it remains in my thoughts and perhaps is where my desire to become a GP comes from.

Being a GP is far from purely finding a diagnosis and working on the organic illness at hand; instead every patient is treated using a holistic approach to care and a relationship with each patient is built over a period of time. 

Whether it is a 10-year-old boy with asthma, or a 78-year-old woman with breast cancer, a GP follows the patient throughout their journey, creating an attachment and personal connection, providing more than just medications and direct treatment. This close interaction with patients is something no other job offers and fascinates me greatly.

The first contact with the NHS a patient has is through a general practitioner and anything can come to fruition at this stage. Within a short consultation, the GP must figure out the nature of the issue and have an understanding of what is going on. Difficult yet intriguing: a blend found in this ideal profession.

Being one of the first people a patient comes into contact with comes with a great deal of responsibility, with patient management and leadership bordering the role. This feeling of individual duty and being at the centre of the multi-disciplinary team engages me and I intend to be in this position one day.

No typical day

There really is no typical day in the life of a GP; prevention, clinical diagnosis, treatment, management, guidance and education can crop up at any part of the day, and a general practitioner has to be ready for that.

The feeling of waking up in the morning, getting ready for work, and walking into a job with little idea of what is to lie ahead for the next few hours is perhaps the most challenging, yet exciting, aspect of the job.

Which patient is going to step foot into my workplace today? What will they be presenting with? It is this feeling of curiosity that drives me towards the goal of successfully becoming a GP.

My thoughts on general practice are best relayed through Martin H. Fischer who said: ‘A better name for the general practitioner might be multi-specialist.’

GPs becomes more than just a doctor to a patient; they become sources of support and comfort. I wish to be there for Mrs X who has schizophrenia or Mr Y whom suffers from Parkinson’s disease, as they progress through their illness.

The disparity of people, variety of diseases and the intellectually stimulating nature of the job attracts me immensely.

The work of a general practitioner, as the frontline gatekeeper of health and source of primary care, is constantly gaining importance, and I intend to immerse myself in such a satisfying role in the future.

  • Sa'ud Jiwani is a 2nd year medical student at St George's University of London

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