Throughout the summer, I was able to do work experience in two different GP surgeries (for a week each) and a pharmacy. In this time I was given the opportunity to: spend time with the administrative staff, shadow GP’s in consultations, accompanying GP’s on home visits, and also spend time with nurses, phlebotomists, and pharmacists.
During the first placement, I found shadowing the GP in consultations the most interesting; I saw a wide range of patients with different problems, and observed how the doctor dealt with each one. The surgery is common for patients with mental health related needs, therefore many of the patients that came to see the GP were for problems of mental health, particularly depression. Mental health is an area of medicine that greatly interests me, therefore work experience at this medical practice was an amazing opportunity for me.
I was also given the chance to spend some time in a local pharmacy. I observed the pharmacist distributing the drugs to various patients throughout the busy day, and learned how they were able to deal with every patient’s requests effectively, in a timely manner.
During the second week at another GP surgery, I also shadowed the GP in consultations and accompanied him on visits to care homes, nursing homes, and patients’ homes. I was also able to observe the phlebotomist repeatedly take blood from many patients. After this, I had the opportunity to practice what I had learned, on a training arm.
I also spent time with the nurse, where I observed diabetes checks, smear tests, and learned how to use technology such as electrocardiograph machines and spirometers.