It’s been a while since I last entered a post on my blog. So it’s about time I wrote one and there is no better place to start than an interview with a couple GPs! A couple of weeks ago, a family friend got me in touch with them and they were more than happy to help me out. I was limited to the time I had to interview them, so I made the most of it and this is what happened:
Q1.What got you into Medicine in the first place?
GP1:Not sure really. It was just one of those things that sounded like a good idea at the time.
GP2:The fact that I got decent grades aided my ambition to study Medicine. If I hadn’t have got the grades; I would have done Law!
Q2.How long have you been a GP for?
GP1:Just over 20 years.
GP2:About 15 years.
Q3.What are the main benefits of being a GP?
GP1:The variety of patients you see. It’s never the same old thing (like most jobs). And then there’s always the good pay that you recieve.
GP2:Obviously lots of people talk about the money but it’s more to do with the satisfaction you get from treating patients and also like GP1 mentioned: the variety.
Q4.And the Bad sides of being a GP?
GP1:The Adminstration. You get 10 minutes to see your patient and the majority of that is filling out forms and updating the patients profile. It also doesn’t help when the patient makes things difficult by coming to you with a number of problems. It gets worse when they “play down” the important problems (i.e, an abnormal lump chest) and spend most of their appointment talking about a minor ‘head cold’ or something.
GP2:It can be quite stressful at times since you are dealing with a lot of patients a week and if you fail to get the diagnosis right; they sometimes give you stick. But that’s part of the job. As well as updating patient profiles from the appointment, you get people wanting various forms signing and you also have to deal with any DNA samples that have come back from the Labs.
Q5.So how many patients-on average- do you see a week?
GP1:Well we see about 40-50 patients a day-
GP2:- and that excludes callouts.
Q6.You mentioned failing to diagnose patients. Does that happen often? And what action do you take if you can’t diagnose a patient?
GP1:Yes, all the time. If we are unsure on what is wrong with a patient, we refer them: pass them on to a team that covers all kinds of specialties: Oncologists, Surgeons, Ophthalmologists. From there, they put the patients in the right place so they can be treated.
GP2:It’s not a case of “we dont have a clue on what we are doing.” It’s kind of the fact that we need to certify our diagnosis with the specialists (who know more than we do) about the subject.
Q7.What are the main qualities a GP should have?
GP1:They need to be on ball, sharp, and able to cope with pressure.
GP2: You need to be a good problem solver as well.
Q8.Which University did you study at?
GP1:UCL, then I stopped doing Medicine, started Microbiology, and then resumed Medicine at Dundee.
Q9.Do you see common types of patients do you see? i.e. Young Children. Cancer Patients. People with head colds?
GP1:Nope. It can be anything.
GP2:As soon as a patient walks into the office, you have 10 minutes to diagnose them (it’s what you’re trained to do) and like GP1 mentioned: it can be anything
Q10.I assume you get assessed by the G.M.C every now and again?
GP1:Suprisingly, they don’t assess you that much. It’s only if you do something incredibly bad that they check on you
GP2:We’ve known GPs who get assessed quite frequently whereas some GPs’ have gone 5 years without having much contact with the G.M.C!
Q11. Have you any tips when apply to a University for Medicine?
GP1:Be realistic about your choices. It’s preferable to apply in the UK unless you’re wishing to live abroad: then it might be and idea to apply abroad. Think about the University you are applying to. If you are assured a job after it (eg. through the military) then that’s fine. But people will look where you have got your degree and if you’ve gone to an average University where the Grade boundaries are low; they may question that.
GP2:Just make sure you choose a sensible 5th option as your back up option.
Q12.What would increase the chances of getting my University placement regarding Work Experience?
GP1:Try and get some Hospital work if you can. Working at a GP surgery is good (even if you do something as boring as scanning papers). Just wherever you can that will give you a taster of working in the health service. All you’re really after is something thats worth talking about on your personal statement.
GP2:Working at Nursing Homes is not the most enjoyable of experiences but it’s valuable one. When writing your personal statement, you can still mention previous jobs you’ve had and you can talk about how they may have been very ‘customer orientated’ or that you had to deal with a variety of age groups etc.
Q13.Is there anything I have missed out?
GP1:Keep your options open. It’s good to want to go into a speciality like General Practice but it is very common for people to get midway through Medicine and instead of doing i.e. Oncology, they decide to become a Surgeon once they’ve graduated.
GP2:No that’s pretty much all of it covered. Just the very best of luck!
And there we have it. Thank you for reading!