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As one door closes, another one opens

My VTS ends in November and I have just three months left before leaving the safety of my training ‘nest’ and going out into the big wide world! The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of experiences and I’m both excited and scared about where the next 12 months will lead me!

My highlights in the last year have been varied. Being given my first thank you gift from a patient in general practice was just lovely – a jar of pickled onions has never made me smile so much before! Playing timed charades with my friends and GP trainer after several bottles of wine following a long day of consultation skills on my VTS residential was special time of bonding with colleagues. Diagnosing a heart sink for the whole practice who’d been presenting regularly with ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ for years with CFS was a recent diagnostically pleasing highlight for me. Watching her flourish after having her condition validated by a specialist team and seeing her walk into my surgery for the first time (having previously relied on a wheelchair) did give me a bit of a buzz that lasted well beyond home time. I enjoyed the pressure and stress of being duty doc – but not always the late finish this sometimes entailed! 

Of course it’s not been all fun and games; a psychotic patient shouting at me that he was going to put my ‘head through the window’ when I asked if he knew why his neighbours were planning to kill him was one of the more scary moments. Sitting the CSA while my husband was abroad was difficult for me personally, and more recently I found a young patient of mine from my drug clinic dying of a heroin overdose very unnerving. It very much brought home to me the vulnerability of some of our patients and the fact I’ll never know if it was accidental or not makes me feel a bit guilty in a strange way.

I hope the excitement I feel from a busy day on call or making a hard diagnosis never wears off. I genuinely really enjoy general practice, but just hope I don’t meet any more aggressive, paranoid or psychotic patients for a while!

Dr Julie Fry is a GPST3 in Cheltenham.