As the days roll by during your training, the style of the general practitioner starts to seep into you.
When you rock up to the practice at 8am, you rock up to work the front line of healthcare. From small aches to major maladies, you are the person that most will turn to first. After you’ve made a coffee, you check through yesterday’s results, recalling those who need following up and raising an eyebrow at the unexpected. When your first patient arrives, you simply focus on them. What do they need to be healthy right now? What do they need to do to be healthy in the future?
You discover how satisfying it is to empower a person with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for their health, and you persist with them when they still don’t make the right choices. You learn quite quickly how to provide appropriate reassurance, but also master the art of feeling confident in saying “I don’t know”.
Your agenda isn’t always aligned with your patient’s, but there is usually a safe compromise. Because being a generalist is greater than the sum of a slice of each speciality put together – you can’t afford to attend merely to one aspect.
You aim for your patient to be feel understood when they walk out of the room, and to have understood you. (And when you walk out at the end of the day, don’t forget to take your “study list” home and look up all those things you jotted down. Perhaps your study group might know what that rash was…)
You’ve also decided to take up those yoga classes, and realise you need to finish early next Thursday for another commitment. Well, lucky you choose a flexible career, and you are going to enjoy striking the perfect work-life balance.
It’s obvious to you that the direction of Australian health is becoming heavily weighted towards preventative medicine, and people will always value a robust relationship with their local doctor – community medicine is the future of health care, could you really imagine being anywhere else?