Consider a Career as a GP Doctor
All over the world, the role of a GP (General Practitioner) is a key part of any healthcare system, and a highly respected, rewarding career that many people aspire to. In this blog, a specialist healthcare recruiter explains what it takes to become a GP. Find out if you might be suited to the role and where to find more information on this fulfilling career path.
Photo: MCG Healthcare recruitment specialists
A GP is a patient’s first port of call and, now more than ever, we understand how vital their work is. GPs have been among the medical professionals on the front line facing Covid-19. They have identified and supported vulnerable members of their local communities and provided consultations while keeping patients safe.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the NHS national GP Patient Survey showed GPs continued providing excellent care and earning high rates of patient satisfaction. Out of 850,000 respondents, 82% in 2020 and 83% in 2021 reported a good overall experience. So what are GPs doing to earn such high approval ratings? And what does it take to excel in general practice?
What are the essential qualities of a good doctor?
Whether you become a GP or pursue another specialism, as a doctor you’ll need strength of character and emotional intelligence alongside medical expertise. So which traits do the best GPs show?
As a doctor, you never stop learning! You must keep your knowledge up to date and always be ready to expand your expertise. A GP sees patients with a wide range of concerns, and their horizons are constantly broadened as they encounter new things.
Acting with integrity and professionalism, and respecting patient confidentiality are crucial to succeeding in any medical field. Patients should feel safe sharing personal information and trust their GP to put their wellbeing first.
A skilled communicator
Strong communication skills require both speaking and listening with care. Patients need doctors to understand their concerns, and to give clear, understandable explanations. During an appointment, a GP must speak with clarity and honesty and ensure that the patient feels heard.
Doctors must care for their patients to the best of their ability regardless of their background, lifestyle and personality. Good GPs never make snap judgments about their patients or bring personal beliefs into their work. They provide equal care for all patients.
A good doctor will be thorough and accurate so that important details are not missed and processes are highly efficient. For a GP, this includes maintaining excellent record keeping and information sharing practices, and quickly identifying and solving problems.
A people person
Building positive relationships with patients encourages them to play an active part in securing the best treatment outcomes. GPs deal with a variety of people every day, and must always be approachable and easy to talk to. This helps them support their patients throughout their lives, especially those with long-term conditions.
As a doctor, you need to work closely together with colleagues to provide excellent care. This requires strong communication, and professional relationships based on respect and trust.
In their surgeries, GPs ensure patients are monitored and treated effectively and sensitively by working with nurses and administrators.
Doctors often deal with people at difficult moments, so a compassionate, sensitive bedside manner is essential. GPs work with patients throughout their lives, and they have a responsibility to show empathy as well as providing the best healthcare.
How do I know if a career as a GP is right for me?
Succeeding as a doctor takes drive and dedication. Being a GP is a highly rewarding medical career, but it can also be very challenging, emotionally as well as intellectually. This role isn’t for everyone, so how can you determine whether it’s right for you?
To become a GP you will need the right qualifications, so if you are considering this path, it is important to remember this while selecting your GCSEs, A-levels and university options.
All doctors in the UK must have a degree in medicine from a recognised university. These courses usually require at least seven GCSEs and three A-levels, with high grades in maths and sciences. To become a GP, a medicine graduate undertakes a two-year foundation course and three years of specialist training before they can begin practising.
If you are a prospective doctor who loves the idea of dealing with a huge variety of health issues and people within your local community, then you could make a great GP. If you have a wide range of interests within medicine, you may enjoy the breadth of clinical experience in general practice.
Where can I find more information about a career as a GP?
Choosing a career always involves doing plenty of research, and selecting a medical career path is no exception. Even after deciding to become a doctor, there are many different specialties to explore. Those considering general practice may also want to research fields such as paediatrics, emergency medicine or geriatric medicine.
To find out more about becoming a GP, read MCG Healthcare’s guide to learn about the training and qualifications you need, what the job involves, and how much you could earn.
Q & A … Life as a Doctor
Ross talks about his personal experiences as a trainee doctor, typical career paths and day-to-day life in the world of healthcare
About the Author
Ash Higgs is Managing Director at MCG Healthcare.
‘I’ve been involved in medical recruitment for over 5 years, initially working as a Marketing Director before transitioning into Managing Director. The Marketing position gave me a huge understanding of the issues that both Primary & Secondary Care are facing with regards to the recruitment of healthcare professionals, and this understanding helps guide business decisions. The part of my role I find the most rewarding is watching the team provide our candidates with locum and salaried roles, which in turn helps our clients provide essential medical services.’