Category: Undergraduate

The Technophobe’s Guide to the Digital Age

Rebecca Varley trained at Lancaster Medical School and is on the brink of being an FY1 based at Manchester Royal Infirmary. She was joint second place in the BJGP Student Writing Competition which had the theme ‘The GP in the Digital Age’. We liked her warm, personal counter-perspective on how we approach technology. Douglas Adams had it right. In his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series he perfectly encapsulates the way I feel about technology. I am one of those poor Earthlings who “still thinks digital watches are a pretty neat idea,” and wonders why no one has noticed that technology is only making life more complicated? Adams’ infamous Nutrimatic-Drinks-Dispenser “invariably delivers a liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.”1 And isn’t it true? Machines can’t even get tea right. When the best part of technology is the “sense of achievement you get from getting it to work at all,” something is wrong.2 Despite having been born slap-bang in the middle of the digital age, I am dismayed to find myself a ‘technophobe.’ But when I look around at my colleagues-to-be, I don’t believe I’m alone. On every GP placement I have heard doctors bemoaning technology day in and day out. And why not, when all the patient notes spontaneously decide to reboot mid-surgery, when the electronic prescribing program takes itself out for a few hours, or when a...

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Improving GP recruitment: a medical student perspective

Nabila Rehnnuma is a first year graduate-entry medical student at Cambridge University. A funding crisis, increasing workload, falling real income and continuing negative media press, these are just a few of the reasons why general practice is decreasing in its level of popularity amongst medical students.1 This problem is further exacerbated by medical schools, which have cultivated a culture where general practice is seen as the “second-choice”. This is despite the fact that general practice can be one of the most challenging and equally rewarding professions. Headlines describing the rising patient expectations, reduced resources and poor staffing levels further dissuades potential general gractitioners, with more than 400 GP trainee posts left vacant in 2014.2 This diverges from governments’ current plans which have stipulated that Health Education England should ensure that, by 2015, half of all medical students are to become GPs.1 Therefore, the question remains, how do we meet this target? And more importantly, how do we make the role of a general practitioner more appealing to the current medical student? One of the important determining factors behind medical students’ career preferences tend to be their attitudes towards the medical specialities.3 Experiences at medical school tend to dictate an individual’s attitude, with attitude being one of the most important driving forces. Positive previous experiences on placement stood as one of the greatest influences affecting medical students’ career choices, according...

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Seismic changes in GP teaching – where will the new GPs come from?

Alex Harding is a GP and academic based in Exeter. UK General Practitioners are the largest part of the medical workforce, deliver the most care and deliver this care highly effectively. Most people who have ventured abroad and talked about health are surprised at the envious comments from patients and practitioners alike about the UK health system under the NHS. However the UK GP workforce has not kept pace with the increases in healthcare need, increases in similar workforces abroad or increases in other health professionals in the UK. In order to address this and an impending GP workforce crisis the English Department of Health has mandated HEE to ensure that by next year 50% of graduates will opt for GP training. At present however, 19% of final year students want to be GPs and many GP training schemes are struggling to recruit enough graduates. In some parts of the country there are now 40% vacancy rates. There is some good research that shows that exposure to general practice as a medical student has a strong positive effect on future career choice and so appropriate general practice experience as a medical student is an important part of workforce planning. With this in mind, we surveyed the UK medical schools regarding undergraduate and postgraduate teaching provision and how this was supported in financial and academic terms. We used standard methods to...

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The BJGP Student Writing Competition

A huge thanks to everyone that submitted entries to this year’s competition themed ‘The GP in the Digital Age’. We have received many wonderful entries and we are just in the final stages of judging. The people on the shortlist have now been notified by email and we will be announcing the winners next...

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Anorexia nervosa: how I’m inspired to be a GP

Claire Morgan is a final year medical student and shares her experience in managing her anorexia nervosa. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs from the 22nd to 28th February 2015. I am a final year medical student and in recovery from anorexia nervosa. At a time when general practice is receiving a lot of negative press I would like to share my experience as a patient and how I have been inspired to pursue a career in general practice. My anorexia really took a firm hold when I left home and began studying medicine. Away from home my weight...

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