Why I chose GP - Dr Emma Tonner

Written by
Dr Emma Tonner

28 Apr 2022

28 Apr 2022 • by Dr Emma Tonner

When I applied to medical school, I distinctly remember being touched by one particular story from my work experience and writing about it in my personal statement. An old lady had come into the chronic pain clinic: she hadn’t needed medicines, she just needed the reassurance that she could go on holiday on her own for the first time since her husband had died. I was so inspired by the profound impact of one consultation.  It was at the RCGP Annual Conference in 2017, when listening to Helen Stoke-Lampard’s wonderful opening speech about Enid-shaped care that I realised that the core values which encapsulate a career in General Practice are the very same reasons I applied to study medicine.

GP offers a unique insight into people’s lives

The relationship with the patient is at the heart of every consultation. The trust that patients put in their GP is wondrous, and truly an honour. Sometimes you will provide health solutions, sometimes you will offer comfort, support or advice. You will be there for patients at some of their hardest times, and hear things which they won’t tell their closest friends or family - that is so humbling and rewarding. They are your patients and your community. GP offers a unique insight into people’s lives: seeing healthcare in context and in your community is a hugely powerful position to provide the best care.

There is inevitable change on the horizon but incredible opportunity also. General Practice is at the cutting edge of innovation in technology and team dynamics. Healthcare staff are utilised in new ways; this continues to add more tools to our strong and expanding foundation of community allied healthcare professionals, helping us to provide the best care to our patients. I am excited to be part of a generation who are a key component in influencing the future of General Practice. There are so many opportunities to pursue your interests and get involved with commissioning, influencing public health, leadership, education, access to healthcare, specialist interests... the list is endless!

Each GP has a different journey

You never quite know what is going to come through your door, and that continues to be stimulating throughout your career. In short consultations, you are making crucial decisions with risk-stratification; investigating and covering a huge variety of medicine. It is challenging maintaining such a wide knowledge base but that also gives huge satisfaction in lifelong learning with tangible everyday benefits to your patients. This is alongside the addition of ever-increasing opportunities in academic medicine and teaching alongside your practice. Have spoken to many GPs, each has a very different journey and has created their own inspiring portfolio career. That is truly exciting! I would implore everybody to consider a career in General Practice. It will not be for everybody but you will certainly be inspired!

I want a career that involves teamwork and leadership, education, flexibility, variety, academia and an opportunity to explore my own interests. That is a career in General Practice. It is a specialty which offers endless professional and personal development opportunities. Why wouldn’t I want to be a GP? 

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About the writer

Dr Emma Tonner FY1, studied at University of Leeds and LNR (Leicester, Northamptonshire and Rutland) Foundation school.