If you’re currently embarking on your journey to become a fully-qualified GP or you’re considering a move towards such a career, you’ll no doubt already be aware of what a huge commitment it is. A successful GP is hard-working, dedicated and prepared to put in years of effort at university and in training before completing their qualification. If you feel you’ve got what it takes to make a positive difference to people’s lives, then here are five things that every trainee GP should know.
1. There’s no such thing as being too organised
Studying to become a GP is certainly no Mickey Mouse degree. Not only do you need to be highly intellectual, but you also need to be super organised too – both of which don’t always come hand in hand! Take notes at any given opportunity, even if you don’t feel like you need to, then spend time each day going over them again and fully understanding them. There’s a lot to take in over the years and countless processes to learn, such as keeping your ePortfolio up to date, so organisation is key.
2. You should take advantage of every training opportunity you get
At times, opportunities will arise for you to take part in some additional training, be it in a local hospital, on a scholarship or the chance to head overseas for a certain period and train amongst a different culture. Regardless of whether it’s got anything to do with your ultimate career goal, you should never miss such an opportunity. It’ll add more strings to your bow and will provide a break from the usual training that you’ll be doing over the years.
3. You’re doing enough
There’ll be times both during your training and when you’re practising independently that you might end up doubting yourself or second-guessing your decisions, but that’s totally normal. In life, you’ve always been one of the highest achievers, sailing through your exams and getting the top score in everything, but GP training is tough, so don’t be so hard on yourself. As long as you’re getting through, you’re not failing. Similarly, once qualified, it can take a long time to gain any sort of promotion, so don’t try and run before you can walk – enjoy your new career and take time to settle in.
4. Your wellbeing is one of the most important keys to your success
Burnout among GPs is becoming ever more common, so you’ve got to take the necessary steps to ensure you’re taking good care of your own personal wellbeing, as well as helping others. Eat well, sleep well, exercise often and do all you can to switch off from work when you leave at the end of the day. Make sure you’re still making time to stay social, see friends and family and do all the things you truly love, which aren’t just practising medicine.
5. Get your indemnity sorted
All GPs need indemnity from a medical defence organisation (MDO) in order to practice. This will provide legal support if a complaint is ever made against you – helping you with NHS England inquiries, General Medical Council hearings or court proceedings. There are a number of MDOs to look at, with Medical Defense Society an option that is specifically set up by GPs for GPs. Research this thoroughly and pick a package that allows you to practice with confidence. When all is said and done and you reflect back on all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into getting your dream job, you’ll realise that being a GP is one of the most rewarding careers in the world. Each and every day you’ll be making a difference to people’s lives, and the years of hard work whilst getting yourself to that position will give you all the confidence you need to know that you’re doing so to the very best of your ability. Hopefully now you feel armed and ready to succeed in your career as a GP – a career that you know will be worth every minute of the hard work you put in.