Why I wanted to be a GP
When people ask me - “why do you want to be a GP?”- I am always transported back to my 17-year-old self in my medical school interview, when I was asked “why do you want to be a doctor?” It is a strange question accompanied by an equally strange feeling - have I got to justify why general practice is good enough as a career or have I got to justify why I am good enough to pursue it? It may even be a little bit of both, depending on who is asking…
My primary motivation towards a career in medicine has always been the prospect of helping people by way of preventing, identifying and managing disease in all of its forms. This requires an understanding of people, their families and their communities whilst recognising the privilege that is to be allowed into their lives and homes at a time when they feel vulnerable. Medicine also offers opportunities to work in a range of environments and roles, promising to be a fulfilling vocation, if one knows how.
The doctor I hoped I would be
For me, the questions “why do you want to be a GP?” and “why do you want to be a doctor?” have the same answer. I genuinely believe that general practice is the specialty that allows me to be the doctor that I hoped I would be when I was interviewed almost 10 years ago, whilst allowing me to use the entire breadth of my medical training every 10 minutes. Furthermore, a career in general practice will also allow me to pursue non-clinical interests, such as teaching and leadership, so that I can have a greater impact on patients and populations beyond the surgery.
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when foundation programme rotations were cancelled, I was lucky to have stayed in a GP practice for 8 months in total. My experience as a trainee in this environment was amazing; with twice-daily hot reviews of my clinics with a GP Trainer, protected teaching time and opportunities to develop skills in practising medicine via home-visits, remote consultations and e-Consultations, I couldn’t have asked for better supervision or training.
GP training is varied, well-supported and flexible to meet whatever personal or professional goals/needs that you have, as well as preparing you for a career of endless possibility! Alongside your training scheme, the RCGP will be there to support your goals as you progress through training and beyond; they provide resources and forums for representation across all levels, interests and communities.
Choose GP this year
Launching this month, the RCGP has put together a catalogue of online activity to help you discover why you should #ChooseGP this year. It will include videos and blog posts from current trainees and inspiring GPs, webpages containing important application information and, most excitingly #ChooseGP Live, a virtual, interactive panel event for you to ask notable GP leaders why they chose general practice!
I would encourage you to reconsider the question “why do you want to be a doctor?” this autumn, and by combining your experience within medicine thus far with the RCGP’s upcoming programme of activity, you may even find that you start to ask yourself “why wouldn’t I #ChooseGP?”
About the writer
Dr Lisa-Jayne Edwards, FY2, studied at Imperial College London and Wales Foundation School and has special Interests in medical education, leadership and workplace wellbeing