Kirsty WooffKirsty Wooff is currently working in Emergency Medicine in the Northern Territory (Australia) but she is heading home in August to begin ST1 of GP training in the West of Scotland.

So why do you want this job?

The first question to practise before a job interview; the one we all know will make an appearance…right?
Well, not if you’ve chosen to pursue a career in general practice. Whilst my colleagues were preparing evidence of their accomplishments and practising expected questions, I was revising for the entrance exam and practising OSCE based scenarios. So why is the entry to GP training so different, and what does that mean for the specialty?

  Why is the entry to GP training so different, and what does that mean for the specialty?

The application process for GP training consists of two parts. Part 1 encompasses the written exam testing both clinical knowledge and situational based judgement, part 2 is an OSCE style exam with 3 oral stations and a written station which looks at task prioritisation. According to the OSCE guidance they are looking for participants to demonstrate four key qualities: empathy and sensitivity, conceptual thinking and problem solving, communication skills and professional integrity. Four qualities which are key to being a good doctor, let alone a good GP.

I want to be a GP. I think it can be one of the most rewarding fields of medicine. I’m excited to begin training in a career where I can, hopefully, provide both great quality and continuity of care within the community. The relationship you can build with patients is a really appealing aspect to me as is the idea of being a generalist specialist. Knowing a bit of everything and relying on strong clinical acumen are two key components of being a GP that drew me to the speciality.

I want to be a GP. I think it can be one of the most rewarding fields of medicine… I was ready to tell the world this but then no-one asked me.

I was ready to tell the world this but then no-one asked me. I didn’t expect to be asked by my current colleagues (I’m a young female doctor; I mention GP training and I get a knowing nod…) but I did expect to get asked by my future colleagues – surely they would want to make sure I was committed to GP training for the right reasons and that I might actually add something to the profession?

I was fortunate enough to get a place on the training programme I wanted and I was delighted. I also felt, however, a bit disappointed: did it even matter that I’d actively chosen to become a GP and if the application process was so disinterested in me on a personal level, would the training process be the same?

What I’m advocating for here is one simple question. It doesn’t have to be part of the marking criteria but, by asking it, we’d be changing the way applicants felt.

Why do you want to be a GP? So simple yet so crucial. Not only does it infer that we are interested in the applicant on a more personal level, it also infers that as a speciality we care about who becomes a GP. We want people that want to be GPs. We want people that will make good colleagues. We want people to be proud to be a GP. Surely it’s in our favour to find applicants who have actively chosen to become a GP?

It’s a common flaw within the medical world that GPs aren’t given the recognition or respect that they deserve but how can we expect our non-GP colleagues (and members of the public) to respect us if we don’t treat ourselves with respect.

We don’t ‘fall into’ GP training; we actively choose it as a rewarding and fulfilling career and it’s time we begin to recognise that.

 

Featured image: Austin Neill