I am a little prone to finding hero’s who inspire me and drive my ambitions. These people have help shape my career as a GP and encouraged me to open new doors whenever I face them. Various conversations have directed my career from applying to medical school to the present and I continue to expand my network through my latest journey with GP+. The idea for the website really came from my own reflection on this.
At medical school I decided to become a plastic surgeon and enjoyed my time reaching for that goal. I loved operating and the camaraderie of theatres. However as I moved around the country and saw a narrowing specialist outlook in the future I started to explore alternatives. This accelerated with the birth of my son. I could see how I could establish the variety and face the diagnostic challenges of general practice whilst still maintaining an interest in skin surgery. I was doing local anaesthetic procedures in environments that could be mimicked in GP premises. There would be no more city commutes to hospitals and I could have complete autonomy over my practice as a principle. So I resigned my registrar training position, tested the water with a care of the elderly job for a few months and applied for GPST.
I wanted to continue to keep up my skills through my training so I made links with hospital consultants and had a mainly positive reception about how I could fit into the local systems and provide care closer to home. I did however face hinderance from the minority and was uncertain where to turn to overcome them. I also didn’t seem to fit the guidance and as my competencies exceeded that of a GP doing minor surgery. I was looking for someone who had also been through the process but this took time and came much later in training. I had spent an awful lot of time and energy unraveling red tape and politics.
Meanwhile I was loving my GP training, having worried about going back in grade. My experience made me a useful asset to the team and I found myself getting great training and I was confident in a lot of the patient management. I could also see what I needed to learn having spent 6 months already in general practice, which generated a lot of questions! I was also loving living in Somerset and making the most of the outdoors and being so within an easy drive of the beach. I finally felt settled and we were able to buy a house in a small village.
Following my second child I easily converted to less than full time training, doing 3 days a week as a registrar. I have done some operating during my time with the practice and on completion of my training I will be doing a session a week doing minor surgery. I have made steps to start my accreditation to do higher level skin cancer surgery using my reconstructive skills within my own competency when required. This still has not been easy but I have now found new support. I wish the website had been running early but it should benefit others make this process much more efficient and enjoyable. I have been tempted by other extended roles along the way and have found myself now involved in leadership, innovation and elements of GP training.
I have a much better understanding of the NHS structure and of local medical politics. I have also been to the annual representatives meeting of the BMA when I spoke in favour of motions that I felt strongly about. I have been using social media to network and develop wider understandings about how to be involved with shaping the future of general practice.
It would be wrong not to mention designing this website from scratch and working with the wonderful design team Lahive to make my aims reality. I hope the strength this platform will give the trainees and GPs involved will then transfer to greater influence over how training is adapted to maximise personal development and promote innovation at grassroots.
I believe there are so many amazing ideas amongst juniors but this must be channeled and coaching can do this. I wanted a networking and coaching website that put the user in the drivers seat rather than prescribed. I continue to work collaboratively with large established organisations to ensure the benefit to morale within the workforce and in delivering excellent care is far reaching.