I have been a GP for 25 years and still regard my clinical job (two and a half days a week) as core to who I am and it supports and informs my role as Professor of Primary Care at the University of Worcester.
Like many GPs I have had a number of roles in a number of organisations, rather than following a straightforward GP educator or Academic GP career. If I was to look back at the last 25 years there are a few key events that have coloured my career.
The first, becoming a GP tutor when I had been in practice for 5 years. This catapulted me into the word of education and started a networking habit I have never been able to lose. Although a rookie and relatively young, the West Midlands Tutor group were phenomenally welcoming and supportive. I read, and read and observed and went to every training session or educational conference I could.
The next was an opportunity to do a Masters Degree in Evidence Based Practice at Oxford University. My time out was covered by the Prolonged Study Leave Scheme (Oh so needed now), which enabled the practice to employ a locum for the 3 weeks of teaching a year for 3 years at Oxford. I paid for my tuition fees myself and learnt more than just the curriculum meeting with clinicians form all over the world. I continue to have a great network of EBM teachers and still run courses and conferences to this day. The academic rigour of writing essays “critically” has helped my future research and business case development for projects in the NHS, DoH and university since
I moved from the Deanery (which then used to be the regional centre for all doctor training) to a University in 2007. WE were in a small unit which worked at a national and international level. I was able to learn from a great mentor, and continued to network to develop academic skills
Through all of this I have looked at my home and work balance. I’m married to another GP and reduced my hours in the practice so that I could always attend school events, and managed always to work opposite my husband (although in another practice) so that one of us was always home by 6, and there for swimming lessons, changes in my non practice roles were decided as a family team. I used to never work when the children were small until they were in bed. I value all my non medical friends as much as the medics and have tried to have a charity input (now a governor of a hospice, but I have been a nursery trustee, and member of various parent committees at the boys school)
I have been lucky with the practice. We have an agreement that all full time or nearly full time partners can do one session out of the practice – even if its a lost leader, and can take a second one out at replacement cost. We are now a happy and settled partnership of 7, who have now grown to more than cover the cost of our salaried and PA team as we have got more senior over the years, and our outward facing culture I think makes us more resilient
I am now where I couldn’t have predicted a few years ago, I enjoy all aspects of my working week, and am enjoying another “start up” in another University.
- Surround yourselves with enthusiasts
- Don’t look always at the money, paying for your own education or starting work in a role that pays less than a locum will bring dividends in the medium and long term
- Home time is for families, try and separate work and home
- Whatever role you have enjoy it
Professor of Primary Care
The University Of Worcester
Partner The Corbett Medical Practice
Academic Lead HEWM Urgent care GP project