This morning was my first G.P placement of year 2. I am part of a pilot scheme where they bring the G.P. and patients/actors into med school as opposed to us visiting a practice.
Sometimes there are perks to having children whilst being at medical school as it meant I could ask to be a part of this scheme… no 2 hour journey to a G.P surgery for me 🙂
Aside from the benefit of less travel time and cost. I was initially sceptical about the scheme, How accurate would our learning be if we weren’t submersed in the environment?
But this has been one of my best learning experiences so far. The G.P who came to teach us was a young and very enthusiastic woman. Very easy to talk to and the whole point of her morning was to teach us i.e. she wasn’t distracted by running her morning clinic at the same time.
I enjoyed my placements in the G.P. practice last year but often the G.P. was (understandably) too busy to watch our patient interviews and we didn’t really have much patient feedback. Whilst I can see the importance of being in the real G.P. environment, I think in these initial stages of our training having someone focussed on just us and getting in-depth feedback is extremely valuable.
We were able to chat to the G.P. tutor about how to question patients on their sexual history without it being awkward, how to ask older patients if they take recreational drugs (you’d be suprised- she told us).
Above all I got a real insight into how important history is. Without knowing the journey a patient has taken before arriving at the doctors you cannot be sure of the person they are now, the problems they have and how they are impacting on their lives.
As someone who took Geography instead of History at school I often fail to grasp a lot of current affairs as I don’t know the history of the situation. Give me an oxbow lake and I will explain it beautifully but ask me about previous monarchs and I do not have a clue.
My lack of historical knowledge embarrases me and does impact on my ability to asses and interpret current situations. With this in mind I know that learning to take a good patient history is going to be cruical to my diagnostic skills and to my effectivness as a doctor.
So friends and family beware, maybe even strangers beware, because I am going to be looking for every opportunity to practice my history taking. Start thinking up some medical conditions please……