Viewpoint: Why I'm Choosing General Practice: Nicole Abel

To be a GP is to play a pivotal part in a patient's life from cradle to grave. It's a privilege to be entrusted with what a person values the most, their health and that of their family.

Nicole Abel: '‘Nothing worth having comes easy’ and to be a GP is definitely filled with worth.'
Nicole Abel: '‘Nothing worth having comes easy’ and to be a GP is definitely filled with worth.'

You are given the opportunity not only to improve the health of an individual but the health of a diverse and often multicultural community by making a vibrant holistic change.

I want to be a doctor that truly understands my patients, to treat the person as a whole and not a set of symptoms. The GP is given the opportunity not only to treat an illness but also to delve into the social, spiritual and psychological aspects to fully understand how their ill health is affecting not only the body but also the mind and the family dynamic, a piece of the puzzle that doctors of other specialties may forget to add to the full picture.

GPs’ communication and diagnostic skills are second to none

This is all done in a 10-minute consultation, which highlights how GPs’ communication and diagnostic skills are second to none. Their skills are fluid and variable which makes this career a constant learning curve, a challenge, never boring and always exciting. I want to be kept guessing, kept on my toes.

A GP’s interaction with their patients is beyond that of a normal doctor, they are able to build up a trusting relationship over the years and become a valued member of that patient’s life, and this is extremely rewarding and instills in me a passion that was not met by other specialities.  Continuity of care is not only important to the patient but also to me, I care about the patient’s outcome of treatment, if they are coping, how their husband is. I want to be a part of the community and not a face staring down at them from the end of a hospital bed.

The lifestyle of a GP allows choice and freedom away from monotonous shift work and even to be your own boss. It is flexible and family friendly whilst also giving the opportunity to specialise such as special interests, research and academia. I want it all; I do not want to sacrifice my idea of a ‘doctor’ to pursue other skills. Being a GP will allow me to put all my skills and interests into action for the best of the patient.  You really can be the doctor you set out wanting to be in medical school without having to sacrifice other dreams and hopes.

Understandably it can be demanding and pressurised at times and has a less than sparkling reputation in the media at present, however I undeniably believe that passion and commitment will make up for this and provide the best for my patients, after all, as the saying goes ‘nothing worth having comes easy’ and to be a GP is definitely filled with worth.

This is why I’m choosing to be a GP.

  • Nicole is a fourth year medical student at Cardiff University

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