In this series of articles, healthcare professionals from across the UK speak about their experiences with patients and colleagues
Hi, I’m Dr Zirva, a GP in the West Midlands
When did you first decide you wanted to do Medicine?
I was “that” strange child that wanted to study Medicine from when I was 5 LOL. Seriously… I blame my Aunty who inspired me from that age.
How well do you think Medical School prepared you for life as a doctor?
It prepared me quite well in some respects, particularly in my final years where I was very hands-on by shadowing FY1s. Most of our course is clinical, so we were almost “learning on the job”. At times I felt my theory wasn’t as strong but some of that may be because my course was PBL.
Reflect on an anonymised patient case or personal experiences to show the principles of being a doctor.
There are many principles of being a doctor and it’s almost impossible to illustrate all in just case. Recently I had been speaking to the relative of an elderly family member, who was very concerned about how to manage her when she is discharged home, because she has become very frail with her hospital admissions.
It was initially difficult to understand what exactly she wanted advice or support with, but by listening carefully, picking up on cue words, reacting to what she was saying, and taking an interest in the carer herself (read up on carer burden!), it was much easier to tailor the consultation to her.
This quickly built rapport and trust, because they understood as a Doctor I was interested in more than just this relative and family’s physical health; but mental and social wellbeing also.
The reason why I’ve included this as an example is because in my role as a GP I have to look beyond the pathology of the patient - that tends to be the easiest thing to manage in a patient. But how they continue to exist in the surroundings they have grown old in, how will they stay safe, how will they continue to live the best quality of life of whatever they have left…that’s what matters to me.
Was there anything about medicine that surprised you?
Before starting medical school I generally thought medicine was split into, medicine, surgery (COOL) and GP (boring). As I progressed through medical school and in my training, I have realised that there are a wide array of specialities under these umbrellas, and actually every subspeciality is very detailed and unique. I did wonder how a doctor could remember EVERYTHING but now I know that is impossible!
What motivates you now as a doctor?
A lot of things motivate me. I am an advocate for my patients, knowing my skills can change their lives for the better is humbling. Being a role model for people like myself is also a privilege – I didn’t quite have that role model in Medicine, but accepted perhaps I had to be the role model I wanted to see.
What advice would you give to any aspiring medics?
Medicine is a great career, eternally rewarding but requires dedication and hard work. It is a unique profession because it is a vocation, i.e. hands on, and many will dedicate most of their life to this art.
It is definitely not a quick way to earn money, there are quicker and easier ways. Neither will you as a Doctor necessarily elevate your position in society because of your title, perhaps how Doctors could some 20-30 years ago. You will always however be considered one of the most trusted professionals in society.
Some are lucky they will get into medicine the year they apply, however many won’t – they may miss the grades, they may not get an offer, and essentially sometimes life happens! Don’t give up on your dream… Medicine is achievable and if you are dedicated to Medicine for the right reasons, you will only be an honour to have onside. It may be that its just not the right time for you.
All the best!