Saturday, 24 January 2015

Time out


I know it has been a very long time since my last post - (months!) but I have been mulling over this GMC situation I mentioned in my last post. I have decided that instead of posting long detailed posts as I have been before I will just post a little story of bit of information that I have been thinking about without background, adding to the anonymous person-and-situation-changing that happens already. I don't want to stop writing things down...

That being said, finding time for writing things down is tough! When I last posted I had just finished my F1 and was starting a rotation in A&E as an F2. I now just completed the 4 month rotation in A&E and am working as a GP now for the next four months. 

A&E was amazing. The breadth of different conditions, learning different skills, and all the crazy reasons for people coming in was great. I looked forward to going into work each day, and perversely, while all the nights and weekends were a bit rubbish, having time off during the week was really nice. Lots of very sick people, exciting trauma situations, people with odd things in odd places and so on. I am now applying for A&E speciality training and have my interview soon. Hoping that this goes well!

Despite all of the 4 hour target pressure and the news about A&E being swamped (it is) I think I am finding my new rotation on GP more stressful. In A&E there is great banter with the other staff, always people to ask to help out, and the sense you are all in it together. In GP I am stuck in my own room, trying to see people every 15 minutes who usually have little wrong with them, but occasionally can be very complex. Trying to pick the complex ill patients from the rest is difficult without any investigations, and trying to manage time to see each patient in about 10 mins (leaving time to do paperwork, referrals, etc) is very difficult. The simple patients who have colds and want antibiotics should be able to be seen in 3-4 minutes, but usually take 10-20 due to all the arguing over the fact that they want drugs. They patient who is suicidal and depressed cannot be condensed down to 10 minutes, and makes everything run late. At least in A&E if you need to spend more time with a sick patient or difficult case you can, in GP it is a real struggle. As you get more experienced working as a GP I am sure this gets easier, but is still a crazy idea.

I think most of the difficulties with being a GP isn't around making complex diagnoses or performing complicated procedures (though there is a lot of scope for these), but it is mainly around communication with patients. I thought I was good at communicating - had dozens of lectures on it at medical school and 'practice' it plenty with friends/at the pub/all the time but this can be a real struggle! 

Either way - I am now applying for A&E, hoping that this crisis in UK hospitals gets better (some good comments on the problems places like this) and now on GP which is much less relaxing than I hoped!


  1. I'm a final year medical students, and I can't get enough of a&e. Good luck with your interview and waiting for more posts.

  2. Thanks for writing this. It was a very enjoyable read