The ‘real job for life’: study medicine at Cambridge University and choose GP as a career



if you went into medicine to make a difference and to help people why would you do anything else so I'm John Benson I'm a GP and I'm a senior lecturer in general practice at the in the primary care unit at the University of Cambridge the first thing about general practice is you see everything medically and beyond I mean socially people's terms in terms of people's car lives anything can walk in the door and it's a you know it's a closed room where patients come and trust a doctor never dull it can be lots of other things it can be difficult it can be frustrating it can be ridiculously busy it can be you can sometimes feel that there aren't enough levers to pull in the world to help the people you see but no never dull we know that we're short of GPS at the moment we know that not enough medical students are going to jail practice and we know a lot of the reasons why that's the case is it a challenge to get students to think about this about general practice in Cambridge short answer is yes but the long answer is it's an opportunity actually there are some medical schools where a huge percentage of students go off to the general practice and it Cambridge with of one of the medical schools where less students go off to the general practice the reason that this happens is because people don't fully appreciate the opportunities there are for academic research and having creating your own special interests for example dermatology or sexual health in general practice there's no doubt that selection in Cambridge prioritizes people who are good at science and interested in science and nobody who would seek to change that what I would say and do you say to medical students is that if you're able and these students aren't very able there's absolutely no reason why you can't be really good at science translate that into a really good clinical care and do that in what I think is the most difficult clinical environment there is which is general practice I think you could argue that actually GP you know it might benefit from being renamed as specialists and family medicine because that's predominantly what you'll be dealing with so yes you deal with a huge variety of conditions yes its general medicine but actually you have a special interest in treating people as a whole person it's hard to become a good specialist it's equally hard we don't need to compete but it's no easier to become a good GP and to hang on to clinical practice that's scientifically based respects the evidence and makes a difference to the nation's health if you want to do all those things there'd be no reason not to so I think one of the things that we can do in Cambridge to encourage people and also inform them about their options is by running events with the GP Society and also in conjunction with the GP education group there in Cambridge so just highlight all of the different opportunities available we've really been working on linking our research activity to our teaching activity to make it clear there's an academic base to general practice and we've both encouraged students to come into our research unit on what are called student selected components there's a periods of the course where students can choose what to do to come and join a research team get their hands dirty and actually work for their team this last year we've just introduced an optional course on gel packs research methods and we have for inaudible students we can take a few more next-gen and I think it's important to build that presence so we're seeing as present but also actually academically present so that when students come to the clinical school that prime to what we're doing rather than discovering it as a something that surprises them but I think I would say to a young person you're going to be around this a long time the question isn't whether general practice is hard to do at the moment and getting a bad run in the press the question is it does this we're working as a doctor appeal to you and if it does then get involved there come a day

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