Sunday, 21 January 2007

To GP or not to GP.

The one thing I was sure of when I started Medical School was that I didn't want to be a GP. Why? I'm not entirely sure, it just didn't appeal to me and my character, I envisaged my future in a hospital, ideally in a surgical specialty. These feelings remained until I actually spent 2 weeks at a GP in my 3rd year, although I still felt the GP life wasn't for me it was not longer a certainty in the 'definitely not' list of specialties. Half way through my 4th year I find myself starting to think about what specialty I want to follow. Still top of the potentials list is something surgical, perhaps orthopaedics, although I'm not sure I can cope with the competitiveness. Medical specialties don't particularly appeal, I'm can't cope with endless ward rounds. Emergency medicine interests me and I like the idea of getting stuck into something challenging. I even find myself considering general practice. Maybe its articles such as this BBC one which are beginning to change my mind - a potential salary of £250K is a definite tick in the GP box (although even I'm not stupid enough to think that this is the norm, and I'm not a money grabbing monkey, honestly.) I've actually enjoyed the time I've spent at GP's far more than i thought I would, although this does depend very much on the GP, my last GP was atrocious and could have single handedly put me off general practice for ever. Maybe I will be one of those medical students who ends up drifting into general practice despite spending 5 years at medical school saying its not for them, although I hope I'm not.

Dr Crippen's take on the GP contract and the current media obsession with GP salaries provides a far more realistic vision of general practice. I don't know much about the GP contract but I do know that its not the only reason for the NHS financial crisis although it seems that is what the government and media want the public to believe.

Although this post may sound a bit like I'm just going to follow the money, that's not the reason I decided on medicine as a career. I'm not going to sit here and lie and say I don't give a fuck about the money because I do, but its not my top priority and not the main reason for doing medicine, if it was I'd be stupid, I could earn more elsewhere. Medicine has, and I hope, always will inspire me. I like challenges, I like being practical and I even like helping people. I think the media has screwed so much with society's opinions about doctors pay, the public think all doctors are paid too much, from lowly F1s to high flying consultants. I disagree, I think doctors deserve everything they earn, I also think professions like nursing and teaching are vastly underpaid but that's a different argument.

[I've read this post back and I hate it, It doesn't really convey my feelings well, its waffly and crap. Who knows what specialty I'll end up in but I know now, not to judge something until I've tried it. One thing is for sure, I can say for certain I won't be doing Psychiatry!]


Wandering Medic aka The Wanderer said...

Well, if you get really unsure, theres always the city. Starting salaries of £100k for F2 doctors apparently....

j00ni said...

I'm very much like you, although I wasn't dead set against general practice, it was far from my top choice. Now it is fast becoming a front-runner, though not for the money.

I think that general practice suits my sensibility a lot more than I thought it would, and like you I am getting put off of medical specialties - which were originally my faves (paeds, cardiology or neurology - the latter I still want to do).

I set out certainly not wanting to do surgery, but that has grown on me, especially ortho - which came as a pleasant surprise. Plus with the annoying intention tremor type thing I get in my right hand ortho is right up my street with its lack of intricacy.

Emergency medicine is still the firm favourite though, and I can't see that changing. And like you psych is so far down the list it might as well be a different career option altogether!