Tuesday, 13 March 2018
My name is Uma, and I am a GPST1 currently at Inverurie Medical Practice. I volunteered for this meeting which was advertised via email. I had no idea what it was all about!
On the day of the meeting, I turned up and was surprised to see that I was the only 1st-year trainee in the room. The rest of the people were all the “who's who” of the GP training world in the North of Scotland! I greeted everyone and took a seat. I think it is safe to say all the most influential people involved in the chain of organisation for training were present.
My responsibility at this meeting was to represent trainees and share their opinions regarding training. I am unsure how well I did in this regard as it was quite unfamiliar territory.
Despite this, I was excited to be there and listen to the plans and effort put in to ensure our training runs smoothly. I soon realised that running the GP Programme is quite a complicated and daunting job!
At the same time, it was reassuring to see the competent people working in our interest.
There were significant benefits of attending the meeting. I got to learn about opportunities after training, information commonly shared with ST3s, and we ended up agreeing this could be very useful for ST1s, as it affords people better opportunity and time to make up their minds about what they envisage their career after training to be.
I guess one of the most important things I want to say is that the Training Programme Directors are very approachable and open to ideas. They encourage trainees to share their thoughts on how best the programme can be run.
If you have any suggestions to improve the program in North of Scotland, please do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or your program directors: Vicki Guthrie and Monica Milne for Grampian Programme, Rod Sampson for Caledonian Programme and Calum Urquhart for the Rural Track Programee. I am confident that your suggestions and opinions will be given adequate consideration.
The next GP STC meeting is on the 20th of February 2019. I would be delighted to forward your opinions or concerns to the board for discussion or perhaps I might see you there!
Dr Ngu-Uma Abelega
ST1, Inverurie Medical Practice
Wednesday, 28 February 2018
The Highlands & Islands ES workshop got off to an interesting start last week as participants were asked “How Big is Your Ego?”.
The ES workshop is a peer led, NES supported event providing education and guidance to Educational Supervisors in the Caledonian GPST scheme in the North Deanery.
Having completed a short Transactional Analysis questionnaire we arrived in Aviemore with Ego-grams at the ready and our Drivers and Scripts in reserve.
We compared the state of our egos, Adult, Critical Parent, Nurturing Parent, Adaptive Child and Free Child, battling it out for the much sort after ‘Workshop Ego Awards’.
As Einstein said “Not everything we count, counts and not everything that counts can be counted”, but on this occasion it was all about the numbers and against all the odds and strong competition Iain Craighead (GP & ES in Dingwall) secured two of these coveted 2018 awards at the workshop.
We are not sure what Eric Berne would have made of these antics, but a good start to the workshop was had by all.
Dr Mark Taylor, GP & ES
Kingsmills Medical Practice
Choose the North region of the Scottish Deanery and you could train within reach of Riof or Reef Beach – Traigh na Berie – at Uig on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. The only place in Scotland to make Travel’s 50 best beaches.
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
You know that time when the general business of the day touches chaos and the next thing to happen just pushes you over toward coping less well, and you’ve forgotten it’s your turn to pick up the kids or the end of the day takes you into the evening...?
Well if it hasn’t happened to you it does happen to me frequently. Often it manifests itself in more things to do in less time. On this occasion however I had forgotten the payback half-day for the extra session the previous week...
So last Tuesday I went into work with a mind-set of a full day in practice only to see a blank afternoon stretching ahead. I immediately thought it was someone else’s mistake only to find the mistake to be mine!
So then what to do with an unexpected half day blessed by fewer home visits than usual to speed the transition to a carefree half-day. Kids all sorted until 4. ‘Why not head for Whiteness?’ says a colleague.
So a rush home for the trainers and a quick trip along to Whiteness, a hidden gem between Inverness and Nairn, 5 miles of clear sand along side the Moray Firth, leading to a spit of land frequented only by dog walker and their dogs and occasional GPs with unexpected half days.
As I set off at full pace to make full use of the day I was suddenly hit by a jolt of realism. What was I doing adding more speed and business to an already cluttered life. I slowed and walked taking in the day, not only blessed by free time but also clear skies and sunshine.
I stopped by a rocky outcrop to see a flock of sanderling clock-working their way along the shore. As I looked more closely there was also Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwits amidst the less unusual Oystercatchers, Redshank and Curlew.
And as if this day couldn’t get any better a Short-Eared Owl accompanied my return to the car quartering the dunes for dinner.
A lesson to myself to take time to stop and enjoy the moment, particularly when such moments are on the doorstep.
Dr Mark Taylor,
GP Partner and Educational Supervisor,
Kingsmills Medical Practice, Inverness
Look for long-finned pilot whales in the Moray Firth and Orcas around North Scotland whilst completing GP Training in the North Region of the Scotland Deanery....
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Do you have a bit of Viking blood in you? Choose to train in the Shetland Isles and you could join the Jarl Squad celebrating Up Helly Aa!
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
When faced with a change in the placements I was expecting for my GP training programme which meant instead of working in emergency medicine in Aberdeen I would be working in psychiatry in Caithness I have to admit immediately thinking: you have to be kidding?
My next thought turned to the exact location of Wick and Thurso having never been further north than Inverness before! Six months later and preparing to move on to a new post I have to say my perceptions of both psychiatry and Caithness have been completely changed.
I was the first GPST taking up the post in psychiatry in Caithness and immediately it was obvious there was much enthusiasm from the local supervisor to make the post educational and relevant to general practice. Having had no experience of psychiatry since medical school my knowledge was patchy and confidence in being able to manage mental health problems limited. I was eased into the post with a useful induction of some light initial reading and then a couple of clinics observing my supervisor followed by him observing me.
After this I was off on my own (but always with excellent supervision). The vast majority of the job has been outpatient general adult psychiatry with me having two full days of clinics a week seeing a mixture of new and review patients and building up a caseload. There has always been ample time within each day to see and assess patients thoroughly and discuss issues or points of interest with my supervisor. The skills learned in outpatient clinic are totally transferrable to consulting in general practice and quickly I became more experienced in assessing and managing common but also occasionally unusual psychiatric presentations.
The rest of the week involved Community Mental Health Team meetings, attending the ward round for the local Caithness inpatients (either via VC or travelling to Inverness) and then there was time within the week for admin, e-portfolio/personal study, audit and also the chance to spend time with other specialist teams such as the substance misuse and older adults mental health teams.
Another unique aspect of the post which I think has been invaluable as part of my GP training has been my experience in CGH. As part of my post I spent one long day per week and one long weekend per month working in the hospital as part of the junior doctor rota. It was an excellent way to continue to develop acute medical skills while working in an outpatient speciality. Most of my time was spent working in the hospital Emergency Department and although I had never done a job in ED before I found the support in the hospital to be excellent. There are rotating visits from Inverness consultant physicians and surgeons as well as a permanent surgeon and anaesthetist so there is excellent continuity in supervision and teaching.
From my perspective as a GP trainee one of the most valuable aspects of working in CGH was working alongside the hospital Rural Practitioners. They are all GPs with many years of experience who now work in CGH, mainly in the ED. Being able to work alongside them and discuss seeing the undifferentiated mix of patients presenting to the department and having to manage unwell patients in a rural setting was a great way to learn from experienced GPs and apply this to my own training.
Although the job itself has been fantastic I was equally as concerned when moving here about life outside work. There really was no need to worry. As well as myself there are a number of FY2s, CDFs, long term and short term locums meaning there has always been quite a solid group of junior doctors keen to explore Caithness.
Since moving here I’ve trained regularly with the local triathlon club, got in a few very windy miles on my road bike, climbed the highest point in Caithness and managed three trips across the Pentland Firth to Orkney. Within two weeks of moving to Caithness I’d acquired a surfboard from supervisor and started to get familiar with some of the best waves in Europe. Even if the waves aren’t firing the beaches and surrounding coastline themselves are amazing to explore. And if I felt like getting away from Caithness then Inverness is only a two hour drive away and Wick actually has an airport with flights every day to Edinburgh (which you can get a 50% discount on if you live locally).
I’ve loved working in Caithness for the last 6 months as a GPST and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone for training or life outside work. I’d be happy to discuss training here with anyone interested (email@example.com).
Dr Jack Cunningham, GPST1
Dr Jack Cunningham, GPST1