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At the heart of general practice since 1960

The first year of general practice has opened my eyes

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This month, I have quietly celebrated two anniversaries as a doctor. The first is the one year anniversary of becoming a NQGP. 

My first year as a GP had been scary, busy, enlightening and cathartic. I am no longer a trainee, although unofficially I’m probably a junior GP (experience-wise rather than in age).

But I have a good acute and medical base from my training, and I’m very glad I trained in paediatrics for a bit. The locum jobs I’ve done have been so varied, but now I’m in my second locum role covering another doctor’s maternity leave.

In fact, I have just accepted a salaried post in a lovely small practice close to home. It will be great to work near where I live. But I still need to learn how to deal better with the handful of emotionally-draining, high maintenance, demanding patients registered at my new practice.

This month also marks ten years since I graduated from my medical school, Warwick, which in 2004 when I joined was only one of two fledgling graduate medical schools (the other being St George’s in London). We were a small ragtag group of slightly-older to definitely-older university graduates who all wanted to be doctors, but either didn’t get in the first time around or made the decision to train later in life.

We hoped to have a reunion but getting a small group of doctors, partners and their kids in one place on one day for a reunion is not easy. It’s even harder when contact emails are ten years old - thank god for social medial and one belligerent/stupid doctor (me) who has decided to take on the grand task of tracking down the current email addresses of our cohort (in which task I have achieved 79% success) to reschedule it. 

But right now, I’m just looking forward to a 10-day holiday abroad and getting to know my patients gradually in my new salaried post.

Dr Avradeep Chakrabarti is a GP locum, living and working in Bristol. 

Readers' comments (10)

  • "emotionally-draining, high maintenance, demanding patients registered at my new practice"

    Why not reframe this as "vulnerable patients in need of my help"? Then you can think less about what they are doing to you, and more about what you can provide for them.

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  • Anonymous | 01 October 2014 11:11am
    Why not reframe this as "vulnerable patients in need of my help"?

    not every patient needs our help, or is vulnerable. but they still end up seeing a doctor for some inappropriate or illogical reason, for which we can't help them, hence draining, high maintenance and demanding

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  • Anonymous people shouldn't be allowed here. This is not the CIA and it just allows TROLLS to abuse us.

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  • I'm glad you have accepted a salaried post and not been tempted by the grass been greener abroad. It has taken me many many years to learn to cope with difficult patient,s and my advice for what it is worth, is make rough handwritten notes while the patient is talking, and encourage him/her to keep talking, only occasionally interposing a 'tell me a bit more about such and such' (NOT interupting) and generally letting the patient 'do the work'. handwritting stuff (that will get thrown out or shredded) is like doodling -a stress-reliever -and it shows the patient you are listening, saves having to remember boring/irritating stuff, and makes it easier if you come to do a referral.
    Many caring intelligent young people would love to get a place at medical but can't. Its a vocation and other jobs are stressful too but generally less well paid and with significantly less job security. Keep up the good work.

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  • Enjoy being a doctor - it is a great honour and privilege.
    Just because the Tories are shredding it to bits does not mean it will be forever thus.
    It will get better with time.

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  • Dominique Dock

    I agree with Anthony Bowering. If we are not even capable of giving our name for such a trivial issue and in such a protected place as this Pulse forum, we have problems !
    And yes, our profession is a stressful one, that is why we need to think laterally and train in other areas, in order to keep developing our Emotional Intelligence.

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  • Any newly qualified GP is trained in empathy, eliciting agendas and educating patients regardless of reasons for attending. The main issue is how they get to see a GP in the first place. Politicians will not back us up to shape demand and educate our communities due to the holy and untouchable right to free healthcare NOW regardless of need and cost.

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  • "Learn how to say no". That's the best piece of advice I was ever given as a trainee. That doesn't mean always saying no, but when it's appropriate to say no, and HOW to say no. Nowadays I find myself talking to more junior trainees in terms of 'gift wrapping' and other CSA training phrases and they actually are starting to mean something more to me.

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  • Dominique, yes we do have problems. It's called the GMC. (Not that it needs help mind) I prefer to be anon as it gives me a modicum of protection.

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