General practitioners are often presented with greater scrutiny by the media. Classically referred to as the ‘Gatekeepers of the NHS,’ GPs are undoubtedly the face of healthcare to the general public and yet general practice is often not taken as seriously as hospital-based specialties throughout medical education.
Pursuing a career in general practice within the medical school culture is sometimes thought of as an ‘easier’ career path in terms of challenges or opportunities. In reality, GPs face daily challenges as the first port-of-call for health complaints and, often, social issues.
How can a career in General Practice be made more attractive?
General Practitioners are one of the most aptly named specialties, as true generalists not just in medical specialty, but also in responsibilities to patients. Systems block teaching processes encourage system-based thinking, and could inevitably reduce the prospects of generalism in diagnostic thinking.
What can medical educators and GPs do to encourage generalism and system integration?
We’ll be discussing all of this in this week’s #UKMedEd chat on Thursday 4 December at 4pm. Leading the chat will be John Fyffe and Mei Lin Lee who are both undertaking an intercalated BMSc Teaching in Medicine at Dundee. They’ve put forward this week’s topic based on their experience of the Dundee MBChB curriculum which incorporates General Practice and Primary Care (GPPC) as an integral, ongoing portion of the undergraduate course culminating in a weekly three hour session organised by the GPPC coordinators. These sessions are often held in city and suburban practices and include tasks for General Practice education, but are subject to interpretation by the tutors themselves.
In contrast ward teaching, however, is integral to system-based blocks that run from years 1-3, involving students in Ward rounds and discussions at the time of the block. Regardless, 40% of Dundee students follow into general practice.
With General Practice becoming a less and less popular career choice (Svirko, Goldacre, & Lambert, 2013), could a bottom-up approach changing the education help? One of the questions they’ll be posing is what curriculum design changes could improve General Practice teaching?
We hope you can join us!
Svirko, E., Goldacre, M. J., & Lambert, T. (2013). Career choices of the United Kingdom medical graduates of 2005, 2008 and 2009: questionnaire surveys. Medical Teacher, 35(5), 365–75. doi:10.3109/0142159X.2012.746450