I am currently employed as a salaried GP for four sessions per week at Great Western Road Medical Practice. I am also employed by NHS Grampian within the department of anaesthesia and perform a chronic pain management clinic on a weekly basis. In addition, I am employed as an academic clinical fellow by the University of Aberdeen and work five sessions per week within the Centre for Academic Primary Care.
I undertook my medical training at Glasgow University and developed an interest in research during my intercalated BSc (Med Sci). When I graduated in 2005, my plan was to pursue a career in hospital medicine and rheumatology. I was among the first group of doctors to experience a number of major changes in medical training including the introduction of the foundation training scheme and MTAS. I completed two years of foundation training in Stirling and Glasgow. The new foundation scheme allowed me to sample a variety of working environments and I was allocated to spend 4 months in general practice. Having been less than enthusiastic about my four month GP placement, I became enthralled by the wide range of clinical presentations in general practice. I gained satisfaction from providing continuity of care and high quality end of life care. I recognised the challenges of being a good generalist and was amazed by the wide range of skills demonstrated by my GP mentor.
I applied to the South East Scotland GP training scheme and undertook a number of interesting hospital jobs and a registrar year in Fife. I moved to Aberdeen in 2009 when my husband took on a new job in Aberdeen. I read about the career start scheme on NHS Grampian’s job website and it immediately appealed to me. The career start scheme allowed me to develop a special interest in chronic pain, and I was supported with training and personal development. The scheme also allowed me to work in two very different general practices with the support of a GP mentor, and acted as a bridge between the registrar year and independent working. I worked as a career start GP for two years before starting my current role.
What does your role involve?
My work in general practices involves pre-booked surgeries with a combination of routine and emergency appointments. The content of each surgery is unpredictable and varied. I am involved in chronic disease management. I visit patients at home and also perform “duty” doctor sessions for the practice, dealing with emergency and unscheduled presentations.
At the chronic pain clinic, I work within a multidisciplinary team made up of Consultant and staff grade anaesthetists, specialist nurses, a specialist physiotherapist, and a Consultant Psychiatrist. I assess patients with a variety of, often complex, pain problems and make recommendations for pain management strategies which include physical, pharmacological, and psychological strategies and minimally invasive targeted therapies such as injections and nerve blocks. I attend monthly MDT meetings and educational meetings. I am also involved in training anaesthetic trainees during their pain clinical attachments.
At the University of Aberdeen, I am performing clinical research into the out- of-hours management of cancer pain. I am enrolling for an MSc by research and hope that my work will lead onto a PhD over the coming years.
What do you think about your career now and what do you most like about your work?
I am very much enjoying my career at the moment. Part-time working represents its own challenges with respect to continuity of care and managing administration and work-load. I most enjoy the variety in my work. I am enjoying the opportunity to work with a variety of professionals and in different working environments. I feel that the variety in my working life maintains my levels of enthusiasm and interest. In addition, the experiences and knowledge I gain in each job positively influences my other roles.