Most students when they start their medical career, have the image of doctors working in hospitals, possibly surgeons scrubbed up or emergency doctors, acting fast to save the lives of patients in front of them by all means necessary as they can see the immediate results their input would have contributed to saving lives which would lead to an increase in work satisfaction.
As we progress in our career, we learn that medicine is not all about saving lives and carrying out emergency procedures but more of an individualised and holistic approach to treating patients to improve and maintain their wellbeing as well as encouraging independence and sustaining a good quality of life.
The patients seen in primary care are very diverse
Like many students, the idea of being a GP and sitting at a desk and prescribing medications when needed was not very appealing to me at first, but having been on GP placements from year one at medical school and having a better understanding of their role has made me look at my career ambition and swerve more towards becoming a GP after graduation.
Not only are the hours attractive for a good work-life balance with a few on-calls and a shorter training period, the patients seen in primary care are very diverse. GPs work with a variety of people with different conditions and at different disease statuses.
I enjoy learning about different medical conditions and talking to patients about their specific illness. Being a GP would also mean that I would need to know the course of a disease and when to refer to secondary care as I would essentially be the gatekeeper to a vast healthcare resources patients would be put through and so the right decisions will need to be made as putting patients through unnecessary procedures will add stress and anxiety and also be costly to the NHS in both short and long term.
GP job prospects are very enticing
Although continuity of care can be achieved in hospitals, the breadth and length of care is different in primary care. The foundations of a relationship which would eventually last over many decades is being built and we become part of the patients’ personal, social and family lives as well as being an active member of the community.
GP job prospects are very enticing as they can set up their own practice and run it as a limited company, making some profits and reducing tax burden on salary.
All in all, being a GP is an attractive career path for me and it will hopefully be the one I will be applying to after my foundation training.
By Gobinath Murugesapillai, who is in his second year of graduate medicine at Southampton University.
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