Career Development as a General Practitioner

26 May 2023

General practitioners (GPs) or in some nations referred to as Family Medicine doctors, are at the core of primary care. This provides numerous opportunities and potential for career development. GPs are vital to health systems that provide universal health coverage and those that are aiming to achieve such coverage. The majority (over 90%) of all medical issues can be managed by GPs. Therefore, by providing primary medical care to individuals of all ages and managing a wide range of health conditions we can achieve UHC and have stable, progressive health systems. In addition to this, GPs, have some unique opportunities in terms of their career development.

As noted, a GP’s breadth of practice is large. Therefore they have the opportunity to work with diverse patient populations, from children to the elderly. They handle various health concerns, including mental health, addiction, minor surgery, acute and chronic illnesses, prevention, home care, mental health, and minor surgery.. This allows those with GP background to have a large collection of skills that are essential for the community.

 GPs can pursue further specialization through postgraduate training programs. This could include areas such as paediatrics, dermatology and infectious disease. This creates the opportunity to enhance career prospects and earning potential. This is further enhance if the training programs incorporate postgraduate degrees, such as a Masters. With all this in mind, you may wonder where do GPs find the time? Yes, many health systems are under huge pressure in the current climate of COVID-19, climate change and obscure politics.

 However, unlike secondary or tertiary care, GPs have more flexibility in terms of hours and geography. By having the autonomy to make life decisions for individual and family care, GPs are held in high value. This allows for the choice of part time and full time roles, but simultaneously allows them to work in various countries, as many established GP training programs are recognized globally.

 Finally, if teaching is your passion, GPs have excellent choices when it comes to teaching their peers and the future generation of doctors and nurses. As primary care is the cornerstone of any decent health system, GP training and GP trainers are at the core of developing primary care training for all health workers, across the globe.

 Therefore, one can say, career development is something every GP can pursue, simply due to the large number of opportunities their career choice has provided. Strong health systems require well trained, versatile GPs and this can only come from the continuing choice of career development pathways a GP’s life can provide. 

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Dr. Kunal Patel, Medical Director

26 May 2023