An increasing number of medical students is considering working as an independent GP or GP partner once their NHS work placement is over. But do you have what it takes?
- You are autonomous but you don’t mind long hours
With the current state of the NHS and the ensued pressure on all members of staff, GPs are unfortunately no stranger to burnout. Many people opt for an independent GP career because they feel they will have more control over their schedule. People with busy family lives especially tend to prefer the autonomy offered by a job in a private GP practice. Working as an independent GP or NHS consultant might not sound as hectic as A&E but you could still pile on around 12 hours of work on busy days because of home visits and extended hours. Depending on the location of your practice, expect to spend a minimum of 40 hours at work.
- Be ready to have your skills re-assessed all the time
The sheer amount of knowledge base required to be a doctor can seem daunting but it’s completely necessary and there is no way around it but learning and revising your basics frequently. What’s more, working in the medical field is an exciting opportunity where new techniques and discoveries are constantly shaping up the way healthcare is being administered.The GP appraisal process has been developed to ensure that all licenced GPs are up to date with the latest advancements and are able to practise safely.
- Have exceptional interpersonal skills
Interpersonal and listening skills are simply essential if you want to do a good job as a GP. Patients need to feel listened to and cared for in order to trust you with their health. Not only that but you will need to be skilled enough to spot symptoms and react immediately based on a simple conversation with your patient, sometimes even remotely on the phone. Empathy and patience are key for you to build a strong relationship with your patients.
- You can keep a cool head during hard situations
You will likely encounter some tough situations, even as a GP not working in A&E and it’s crucial you are able to remain calm and stay in control in order to solve the problem as best as you can and reassure the patient and any involved family members.
- Be able to find a balance between professional and personal life
It can be hard to shut your eyes at night and stop thinking about your patients after a 12-hour day of work, but you will have to be able to be able to separate your professional and personal life, no matter the issues you might be facing during the day. You’re hopefully in it for the long run, and a burnout is definitely out of the question!