Dr Rony Sanyal is a 2nd year of GP training. He attended Leicester Medical School and spent one year on the interview panel at Nottingham University. He also established and ran Situational Judgement Test courses in Birmingham and Nottingham. He is theMSAG's Online Interview Course Manager.
Hi, I’m Rony. Welcome to this blog on the life of a first-year GP trainee. I’ll be filling you in on some insider information about the benefits of taking the general practice route. I’ll also describe some disadvantages which will give you some food for thought. I hope to achieve this by walking you through just one day in my life, so you can experience a snapshot of what it’s like.
I wake up at 9am. Thoughts are still running through my head about the free study day I attended yesterday on common liver conditions. I had applied for a study leave the month before and it was approved almost immediately.
Benefit 1 – you will get a lot of support with your GP training: there are many free educational events for GPs and you will get a large amount of study budget and study leave.
I am on my accident and emergency rotation and working a 12pm till 9pm shift today.
Disadvantage 1 – It’s that I have to work an average of 42 hours a week in my current rotation and sometimes this can stretch up to 61 hours if I have a long stretch, including nights.
I have some free time before I start my day – how many doctors can say that? I open my GP e-portfolio and begin a learning log on my reflections of the study day I attended. Yes, that’s right, we GPs love reflections.
Benefit 2 – it’s easy. Do you know why? Because you need to learn how to reflect now and you’ll continue to practice this throughout your time at medical school! It’s one of the most important techniques we teach in our interview courses. So, by the time you get to my stage, you’ll be an expert. I’ve just finished my end of year review and to pass I needed to have created around 70 reflective logs (around 2 a week).
Disadvantage 2 – It takes discipline and creativity to create two of these 500-600 word mini-essays each week. It takes me about an hour to complete my learning log but I finish just time to make myself a satisfying brunch before work.
Its 1.45 pm and as I walk towards the hospital I realise my second hospital rotation has almost come to an end. You are required to take part in 6-month rotations in most GP training programmes. Generally, one and a half years are spent working in hospitals and the rest of your training is spent in general practice.
Benefit 3 – This is quite clear really. In just two more years, I will be a GP. I can finish my training relatively early, whereas my colleagues will spend at least three additional years training before they become the most senior doctor in their field.
Benefit 4 – Once I become a GP I can choose to take multiple different routes if I desire. I can work with theMSAG, take a session as a locum GP in a surgery of my choice and work part time in the A&E department to keep my hospital skills up to date. No other vocation offers you so much flexibility. This is one of the biggest attractions of working as a general practitioner in my opinion.
Before I get to enjoy all of this, I have to complete my full time hospital posts. You will rank the specialities in which you would prefer to work in during the GP application process but your allocations will depend on your performance in GP entrance exams.
So, there you have it – have I managed to stir up some interest in your minds? Well, it’s never too early to start investigating these specialities in more detail. I would encourage you to talk to medical professionals at every opportunity and ask important questions such as: “What motivates you to keep training?” or “Why did you choose this specialty?” If this does intrigue you, why not set up some work experience? If you’d like more advice on this, feel free to email us.
Reflecting back it’s been a great year. I’ve picked up new skills in A&E, had the time to follow my passion for theMSAG, understood the fundamentals of the GP training programme and I’m now one year closer to becoming a GP. I hope you understand a little bit more about the world of general practice and as my story ends, I hope I have inspired you to begin your own wonderful chapter in this fascinating field.
We hope you found this information useful in helping you get a sneak peak into a career in medicine. If you have any questions or need advice don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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