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Thursday, 28 February 2019

Helping medical students discover general practice

Written by Rebecca Woodbridge and Meg Robertson | Keele Medical School | | @PCSciences

Keele GP Society recently held the Central RCGP ‘Discover GP’ Conference at Keele Medical School in collaboration with GP societies from Nottingham, Warwick, Leicester and Birmingham. The event was organised by the society (President; Rebecca Woodbridge, Vice president; Meg Robertson) in conjunction with the RCGP student team. On Saturday 16th February, around 90 attendees came to the day-long event, with the premise of providing medical students and foundation doctors more information about a potential future career in general practice.


The day kicked off with a lovely welcome from Brigadier Robin Simpson QHS, the vice chair of the Midlands RCGP Faculty & Postgraduate Dean for the UKs Medical Defence Service. This was followed by a mini-plenary session from Dr Adam Thomas, discussing ‘Life as a Trainee’ GP and details concerning the current GP training pathway. We then moved onto the topic of social prescribing & how we can promote this initiative, wonderfully presented by Keele GP Societies Social Prescribing Representative (Philza Kayani) & Dr Fiona Hay. Our last talk of the morning ‘The Travelling Medic; Tales from the Tropics, Travel medicine & occupational health’ by Dr Andrew Benc. Students were able to learn more about travel opportunities in other countries & what challenges you can face when working in resource-poor settings. We received very positive and encouraging feedback from students & we still had a full day of activities ahead of us!

Design your career

After a short break, we commenced the ‘Design your Career’ workshops. We recruited 19 GPs from the region to get involved in talking to students about their areas of specialist interest. As a society, we are passionate about highlighting to students the vast amount of opportunities within general practice, including how you can develop your own personal interests alongside a career as a GP. Students could choose 3 workshops to attend during the afternoon which included; palliative care and womens health, rural medicine and working with the WHO, gynaecology/paediatrics and sexual health, academic GP, military medicine, travel/tropical medicine and occupational health, ENT and outreach medicine, sports and exercise medicine and a ‘speed mentoring’ workshop. The latter workshop included several GPs and students had the opportunity to speak to numerous specialities including trainee GPs, emergency medicine/urgent care, GP appraisal, minor injuries/sports events medicine, working as a GP partner and working with the RCGP. 

Supporting local families 

 There was also the opportunity to take part in the charity raffle, raising money for a local charity, ‘The Gingerbread Centre’ (represented by our mascot for the day, ‘Biscuits’!). The charity aims to support and provide accommodation to local vulnerable families and pregnant women tackling homelessness in Stoke-on-Trent. Prizes were donated by the Gingerbread Centre, Keele GP Society, Pulse Notes, MDU and BMA. In total a fantastic amount of £108.70 was raised, all for a truly deserving cause!

Stimulating discussions

The last activities of the day included a talk from Brigadier Simpson on ‘GP and the veteran’, discussing how GPs can provide optimal care to patients who have served in the military. Lastly, there was a panel discussion in which students could send in questions to a panel of 5 GPs, lead by Dr Jodie-Blackadder (First 5 Chair, education lead of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine). There were numerous stimulating questions asked by students such as ‘what advice can you give to students about a career in general practice’ and more challenging topics such as ‘regrets and difficulties of being a GP’. As the day tied to a close, students were welcome to attend a networking event in the local students union.

During the lunch time break, Professor Protheroe and Professor Chew-Graham kindly judged our poster presentation competition in which we had two joint winners: Dr Sana Sheikh and a Keele medical student, Jacqualan Walsh-House.

This was the first time Keele GP Society have hosted such a large event & as a society, we are very proud of what we have achieved! We have received a lot of positive feedback from students about the different talks and workshops that were available to attend. Our goal for this conference was to show students how a career in general practice can open up endless opportunities & hopefully hearing from esteemed GPs within our local region, has allowed attendees to see how much promise and excitement there is in this career pathway! We are fully fledged #TeamGP!