Quick Chat with… Dr Patrice Baptiste

Why did you choose to work in general practice?

One of the reasons I chose medicine was because I enjoy variety and being stimulated intellectually. I have found that variety and intellectual stimulation within general practice. I have also found that I am able to develop other medically related interests by choosing general practice. Examples are- medical writing, medical education and learning about business and entrepreneurship. 

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned as a GP?

One of the most useful things I have learned is to listen to my patients. At medical school I was taught that the diagnosis is in the history itself; the patient is actually telling you what the diagnosis is. When I have really tuned in to what they are saying I have been able to help my patients immensely. Often, talking about their worries and concerns is therapeutic in itself and I truly believe in the ‘golden minute’ (or minutes!).

Work/life balance – is it possible or is it a myth?

A healthy work-life balance is definitely possible and is a must. I do not believe I could immerse myself in any career, especially a demanding one like medicine if I was not able to enjoy any other interests and pastimes.

Where do you see the future of general practice? 

I think the future of general practice and any career is job sharing and working part-time. I think that we would all be much healthier and happier if we spent an equal amount of time working and playing!

What would you say about general practice to medical students and young doctors who are thinking about their career options?

  1. Do your research about the career.  Networking at events, speaking to junior doctors and general practitioners will help you formulate an understanding of why they made the choices they did. Can you relate? Can you see yourself being in their position one day, and why?
  2. Understand who you are. What type of person are you? Do you like long-term follow up and relationships with patients? Do you like a broad mix of cases (and therefore specialties) or not? One of the reasons I chose general practice is because I enjoy seeing my patients over a long period of time and really getting to know them. This way I can do the best for them.
  3. Realise that you will change as a person; it is inevitable. Life events will change you and your perspective. Certain things become more important than others. Be open-minded. General practice allows for more autonomy and work flexibility than in other specialties. You can also enter into other fields with general practice as a foundation.
  4. Remember that it is OK to have multiple careers and interests. (It is also OK to change careers). If you like variety within and outside of medicine it is definitely achievable to be a portfolio GP or have a portfolio career.

Dr. Patrice Baptiste is a GP STI currently working in Romford. She graduated from University College London (UCL)  and then went on to complete the foundation programme, after which she took a year out of training to pursue a number of her interests.

Alongside Dr. Baptiste’s duties as a doctor she is an avid writer. She has written for numerous medical and non-medical organistations including the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the British Medical Association (BMA), the Medical Protection Society (MPS) and GP Online to name but a few.

Patrice is passionate about education and inspiring others, especially the next generation. For two years she has served as a Director Appointee and has now accepted her new role as a Foundation Governor. Patrice is the founder of DreamSmartTutors, an organization that not only aims to help students successfully apply to medical school but also educates and informs them about life as a doctor. Patrice is also a STEM ambassador, a School Speaker and a member of UCL’s BME alumni committee.

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