Now that I’ve nearly completed four months of GP, the thought that keeps coming to my mind is: could I see myself doing this?
It’s always been easy for me to visualise myself as a GP. I’ve had numerous opportunities to be in consultation rooms as a student or even just personal experience as a patient. So, imagining it isn’t difficult. Plus, it’s always been in the back of my mind that if I did A&E and trained up to registrar level, I could jump-ship and become a GP later down the line. That way I could have the best of both worlds.
But do I want to, is the question. And the truth is I don’t. And there’s a number of reasons why, some that I’ve spoken about before. One of the biggest things I’ve found with this placement is how isolating it’s been. Being shut in a room for hours at a time has not been enjoyable for me. But I guess that’s just a matter of my experience. In comparison to the partners who own the practice, they’ve known each other for years and get on really well. They’re genuinely friends. How nice would it be to work with friends.
I’ve often wondered how GPs do the 10 minute slots. Being pushed from 30 minutes to 20 minutes had me ramping up the speed of my consultations considerably. A general run down of each consultation: I have a couple of minutes to read through the patients notes so that I’ve got some sense of their history, I call them in then wait for them to make their way down the corridor. I take a history, which takes time, I examine, which takes time. Patient has to get undressed then redressed and then sit back down to discuss a plan. I often have to look through guidelines for what to do next or what to prescribe, which takes time. Then I write it all up, some need further investigations, some need referral letters. It gets slightly more complicated with kids and people who don’t speak English well. Some patients come with a whole list of things they expect you to sort out as well. I dread the ‘…and also’ before the next onslaught of symptoms. I’m having to be a lot firmer and apologise and explain that time is not on our side. And there’s the consultations that you know that need that extra time. There’s the patient who is developing depression, there’s the lady who’s having to put her husband in a home because she can’t cope. Mental health issues shouldn’t be rushed or squeezed into a short time frame. I’d want to be the GP who did more than prescribe pills. I’ve enjoyed the times I’ve been able to have frank discussions, which has either shifted a perception or brought about a better understanding. But that time is a luxury. How could I do it with less than 10 minute slots?
It’s just down to the fundamental truth of whether I enjoyed the day to day experience. I’ve not enjoyed it enough to validate a lifelong career in it. It is what it is. So, for now, I know that GP isn’t the one. This is nothing against the staff or the GPs, they’ve all been amazing. This practice has been incredibly kind and patient with me. I feel like if there was ever a place that would have converted me, it would have been this one.