Starting my career in general practice

After qualifying earlier this year, Dr Patrice Baptiste explains how she's adjusted to independent practice as a new GP.

Dr Patrice Baptiste

When I completed my training I was elated; I achieved another milestone and could move forward with my new career. I was always going to become a salaried GP because I wanted to form long lasting professional relationships with my colleagues and patients, but also have the space to do other things as well. So, it’s great to be able to finally begin the career I selected all those years ago.

Adjusting to the pace

It’s definitely a step up working as a newly-qualified GP. As a trainee I was seeing patients in ten minutes but I was seeing less patients overall in a typical day. As a salaried and also locum GP I am seeing far more patients during one session, which I am still getting used to.

I was concerned that since I was working fewer sessions per week that I wouldn’t gain experience very quickly compared with GPs working closer to eight or even nine sessions, but I have learnt so much already I am not worried about this anymore.

Like many practices I enjoy discussing cases with my colleagues which is great for personal and professional development, especially as a newly qualified GP.

Getting to know colleagues and patients

One of the non-negotiable areas of my career plan was choosing a practice I could ‘settle at’; somewhere I could stay for a long period of time. I did not enjoy the constant moving around during training and one of the reasons I was  looking forward to qualifying was to be able to put down roots and  get to know my colleagues and patients.

Being in one place with one team has also helped me feel supported, especially after three years of VTS training. It has been great getting to know a new team and also learning about my patients – from their medical history, to them as individuals and how I can help them holistically. It has also been interesting to learn about a whole new area and what services are available.

Balancing my other interests and careers

While adjusting to my new career as a GP I have also been adjusting to life outside of clinical practice. It has been a little bit difficult in recent weeks to balance everything but as the weeks progress I am confident I will develop a better routine to allow time for all my interests. 

I have always wanted to have a portfolio career and this naturally ‘fell into place’ because of my desire to maintain and develop interests that were important to me. 

Crucial to any successful career is the ability to look after yourself so that you can continue to give 100% when at work. So, finding the right balance over the coming weeks and months is something I am looking to fine tune in order to completely enjoy the clinical work that I do.

  • Dr Patrice Baptiste is a London-based portfolio GP. She has also founded a medical careers company called DreamSmartTutors.

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