Coming face to face with over one thousand GPs and presenting your research at the biggest GP conference in the UK is one way to find out more about GP as a career path. The GP Education Group (GPEG) supported five students to attend the Royal College of General Practitioners Annual Conference in October 2017. Here are their reflections – and a short film made by Dr Jon Ferdinand will be published soon.
Erin Weatherstone, Year 5, said: “Attending the conference was a brilliant experience. I was able to present my poster of the research that I completed with the Primary Care Unit during my SSC last year and getting the chance to interview Helen Stokes-Lampard and other GPs was a particular highlight. Everyone was very happy to speak and answer my questions about what a career in general practice is like. General Practice was definitely an option I was considering. After the conference I feel more inspired about pursuing this career path in the future”.
Stephen Woodmansey, Year 5, said: “I really enjoyed my time at the conference. I appreciated having the chance to explain our research to a number of genuinely interested GP’s, who had some interesting clinical insights to offer. Talking to delegates highlighted that choosing to be a GP is by no means a career limiting option: I talked to GPs who worked as researchers, managers, journalists…. to say nothing of the diverse array of specialist interests in the various talks and presentations”.
What’s in store for the NHS?
“One central message of the conference seemed to be that there are big changes in store for the NHS, with evolving role of GPs as clinicians, co-ordinators and leaders being at the centre of the NHS’ future. It was sobering to hear about the pressures and challenges facing primary care, but re-assuring to hear the positivity and optimism of the majority of the people present”, added Stephen.
Thinking about GP as a career?
“The RCGP conference was a great insight into an exciting and challenging career pathway. It gave an opportunity to present research and network with interesting doctors, building a CV and broadening future career options. I would highly recommend this conference. It is a great way for medical students to discover more about General Practice as a career,” said Tom Weatherby, Year 5.
Impro for GPs
Ali Al-Hadithi, in Year 6, described a ‘Medical Improv’ session led by Dr Waqar Ahmed. He said: “Dr Ahmed got us all involved in reflecting on our GP skillsets. By improvising conversations with other attendees, such as conversing in questions or replying with “Yes, but…” only, we realised the importance of appropriate communication skills”.
Ali concluded: “In short, this experience captured the essence of the conference – building on our foundations, broadening our horizons and exploring the future of General Practice in an interactive and enjoyable environment”.
Not ‘just a GP’
Tom Ronan, Year 6, appreciated the variety at the conference. He said: “There were so many leading researchers in the field of primary care, for numerous presentations and panel discussions. I attended sessions on everything from the latest diabetes research developments to the role of doctors as political activists”.
“Speeches from the College Chair and the Health Secretary generated some heated debate on health policies, whilst the Friday evening social provided a great chance to meet other students and trainees interested in General Practice. I left the conference excited about the pathways offered by a career in General Practice, both in terms of research opportunities and clinical practice”.
Find out more
About GPEG support for students who wish to present research at conferences