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Independents' Day

Helping hand when GP trainer's busy

From Will Sharp


As a third-year student at the University of Manchester, the aim of my GP attachment is to understand the management of acute and chronic disease, learn about the primary health care team and how to interact with other health care staff.

But it can be boring at times. A surgery full of coughs and colds is of little educational value to the student and a trainer may not have enough time to discuss a patient if busy.

On my latest attachment I have had the opportunity to spend a day with a community matron seeing COPD patients managed at home. The knowledge and understanding I gained was tremendous.

She had time to explain how to manage the condition better, how to deal with an acute attack, when and where to ring her. We went round the house to see if any aid or adaptations were needed, especially hand rails, toilet seat, walking stick, frame, etc. She discussed if any help was needed for household chores.

While there she contacted the physiotherapist, social worker and occupational therapist. To my surprise she even had time to teach breathing exercises to reduce anxiety during an acute attack.

I found it of great value spending time with a member of the multidisciplinary team in a primary health care setting. She had more time to spend than a busy GP.

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