The Possibilities are Endless with General Practice

This week we will be discussing the reasons behind colleagues choosing to become GPs. Dr Patrice Baptiste opens the series. Let us know why you decided to choose general practice in the comments below.

I knew general practice was the career choice for me when I realised that I had become ‘lost’ within medicine. As a foundation doctor, I neglected a number of areas I previously enjoyed because either there was no time to pursue them, I was too tired or I simply lost interest in trying to maintain them. As much as I enjoy working as a doctor, I also enjoy writing articles, networking, speaking to young people, volunteering and much more.

Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. I like chocolate cake but if I ate it for every meal I would quickly become sick of it. With the hours we work as healthcare professionals it can be very easy to focus solely on medicine with little time for anything else. It wasn’t really an option that would work for me.

Below is a list of just some of the aspects that drew me to selecting general practice as a career:

The ability to really get to know your patients over time 

As interesting and fast-paced hospital medicine can be at times, I found it frustrating not to know what happened to the patients I treated. Of course, there were occasions when I would follow-up on interesting cases, but what about their long-term on-going treatment? What happened next? As a GP working within a specific community, the advantage is that you get to know your patients very well and can see how they progress over time.

The choice of working hours and a portfolio career

The other aspect of GP is the flexibility of your working hours. I could work as a salaried or sessional GP. I could work Out of Hours (OOH) and at weekends if I wanted to. This means that I could maintain my clinical skills and keep my knowledge up to date whilst pursuing my outside interests. As someone who likes variety, being able to carve out a unique portfolio career is very appealing to me!

Involvement in education

One of the main reasons I chose medicine as a career was for my thirst for knowledge. I enjoy learning and with medicine you are constantly seeing new and interesting things! This can also be frustrating at times because there can be so much (too much at once) to learn! The other side of the coin is that as a GP I could also be involved in educating others at varying levels. I could teach medical students, GP trainees and other GPs too.

Further training

After completing general practice some doctors undertake further training for example in occupational medicine or public health. Choosing general practice can provide a platform to enter into other specialities should you wish to.

The possibilities within general practice are endless. I am not sure exactly what I will do after I complete my training but I know I will have a portfolio career; practising medicine- my first passion- whilst being able to pursue and develop a number of other interests which I know will make me a better doctor!

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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