Monday was the start of my 5-week GP block. Here at Warwick in our third and fourth years we do Specialist Clinical Placements (SCPs), and there are 8 of these which cover the main areas of medicine. During these placements we spend time with these teams in their clinical setting, get practice seeing patients and hopefully gain knowledge to help us pass our final exams and practice as competent doctors. GP for me is my fourth rotation of the year, meaning that once it is over, I will be halfway through my rotations.
GP is a block that I have really been looking forward to in so many ways. During second year we had GP days and they really built my confidence and abilities as a clinician because, more so than any other rotation, you get the chance see and interact with patients in a similar manner to how a qualified doctor would. GP is in a smaller setting and is more generalist, meaning that you see lots of different conditions, from a sore toe to chest pains. I find the variety refreshing and it really tests your knowledge because you need to know something about every area. So far we have seen a bit of everything, and hopefully that continues!
As we are now final years, we have the opportunity to consult independently. This means that as a pair we have our own clinic a couple of times a week where patients book in to see us. We then see the patient, ask them about their problem, decide what we would like to do and then check everything with the GP (who checks the history and may ask some other questions). Our GP practice has been very keen to get us going with independent consults, so we had our own clinic in the afternoon of our first day! Although scary, actually just jumping in and getting going is the best way of learning, and of course we were closely supervised by our lovely GP who seemed happy with most of our management plans. Hopefully our patients were happy as well!
I couldn’t let a blog go by without mentioning the topic on everyone’s lips – COVID.
It has had a big impact on General Practice, with the main difference being that almost all of the consultations are telephone appointments. This has been slightly strange, and can be very odd when the patient calls up with a problem which really you need to see – for example rashes, lumps and other skin conditions. Trying to get them to describe the size and shape can get you so far, but nothing beats that visual recognition. Often these patients have to pop in and see us, but most other things can be managed over the phone – for example blood test results, medication reviews, aches and pains. Its certainly provided the push for General Practice to go virtual, and how much of GP stays telephone/video consultations afterwards will be interesting to see.