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  • Medics & Me

Welcome to GP Land - How to Get the Most Out of GP Placements

Updated: Jan 29

GP placements tend to vary massively in quality and enjoyable-ness, being the marmite of med student experience but bread and butter of medical practice. Thus, it's good to know a bit about what you're getting into:


Set ups and timetables will vary between practices; some are mainly telephone consultations and some will be mostly face to face. The level of responsibility will also vary, however it's likely you'll be conducting your own consultations (whether this is on your own and then reporting back to the GP, or with a doctor sat in with you). A lot of GPs will set you up with your own logins, with access to the patient details so you can prep notes before and document your consultation. Whilst everything is run by the GP one way or another, you can really start putting together differentials, investigations and management plans for the patient sat in front of you - this is where you start to feel a bit like the real deal. It might feel like a slow start but stick with it and you’ll likely be surprised at how much you improve over the block.  Here's some tips to help you get the most out of it:


  • Ask to do your own consultations from start to finish (with less GP input once you feel confident)

  • Examine as many patients as possible (especially listening to chests)

  • Bring work/ entertainment with you as there's often a lull in action between AM and PM clinics

  • Don’t be disheartened if you’re slow at the start, it takes time to get to grips with problem prioritization

  • Don’t be scared to set boundaries with patients - state you can only properly address one problem in a consultation (just because you're a med student who might have more time doesn’t mean you can/should be dealing with multiple problems at once)

  • Set goals and expectations with your supervisor/ team early - they often really want to help you and can provide good teaching opportunities. Let them know if you have any speciality interests so you can take on more patients that fit this ie psychiatry. 

  • Set expectations with your supervisor/team early - agree what you’ll be expected to do and the hours you can commit to (taking into consideration travel time etc). They will also likely get you doing non-clinical jobs such as audits - whilst these can seem less relevant try to tailor the project so it’s useful for your learning. 


Key areas to revise:

  • Asthma 

  • COPD 

  • Chest Infections (Abx or no abx)

  • Anxiety 

  • Depression 

  • Blood result interpretations (B12, Iron, cholesterol, FBC)

  • Hypertension 

  • Diabetes 

Remember, being sent to the middle of nowhere on a next to nothing travel bursary can be off putting, but the new found responsibility you get from seeing your own patients makes GP a really rewarding block!

Good luck!


Jess B

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