Viewpoint: Why I'm Choosing General Practice: Trevor Cheung

In my opinion, being a GP is a challenging but rewarding career with a great perspective and, at the same time, a good work-life balance.

Trevor Cheung: 'The excitement and satisfaction it offers motivate me to take up the challenge.'
Trevor Cheung: 'The excitement and satisfaction it offers motivate me to take up the challenge.'

Being a GP is challenging because you are the front line of the healthcare system. GPs’ professional judgments and decisions are crucially important as they make a great impact on patients’ prognoses. In-time appropriate courses of actions can be life-saving.

On the other hand, the GP is responsible to rule out life-threatening conditions and reassure patients. By preventing unnecessary referrals, the GP is actually reducing the budget and thus financial burden on the NHS.

The amount of knowledge needed is enormous 

General practice is inevitably an indispensable specialty within a healthcare system. As the first point of contact, the conditions a GP would encounter are highly unpredictable, and this makes being a GP very challenging and exciting. With the need of covering a diverse variety of conditions, GPs are trained to provide a complete spectrum of care within the community. Therefore, being knowledgeable is another attribute you need to become a good GP.

The amount of knowledge needed is enormous and unmeasurable because of the broad spectrum GPs cover. GPs are involved in an ongoing learning process throughout their career, with new medications being licensed, new diagnostic technology being invented and new clinical guidelines being released. Although the range of diseases is so broad, if at any point GPs develop special interests, they can sub-specialise in different branches of medicine, providing them with flexibility to their career.

Indeed, being a GP is challenging, but also rewarding. In a GP surgery, the amount of people walking in and out is of vast amount and GPs ought to meet a number of new patients on a daily basis. With great enthusiasm, GPs often find meeting a great diversity of people very enjoyable. Everyone needs to see a GP at some point in their lives, from infants to elderlies, with different socio-economical backgrounds.

Thus, GPs need excellent communication skills to deliver message across to patients at different age, with different backgrounds and be able to provide care to meet different needs. GPs are compassionate to build long-term relationships with patients.

On top of knowing their medical conditions, GPs get to know the patient in person and understand their backgrounds, social situations and what they are going through in their lives. This is an advantage other specialties cannot offer while GPs can. Moreover, building a long-term relationship with clients allows GPs to provide a holistic continuity of care which other specialties cannot always do. All in all, pursuing a career in being a GP is something that I would totally do as it is a great rewarding career. Even though it can be challenging, the excitement and satisfaction it offers motivate me to take up the challenge. I have made my lifelong decision, have you made yours?

  • Trevor is a student at Southampton University.

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