Becoming a GP: what you should know

Things you might not know about being a GP…

Taking on a career as GP isn’t as simple as working a 9-5 job. There’s a lot of added pressure, although the work is rewarding. There’s more to think about when you’re building your career, including indemnity, stress and self-care.

In order to become and remain a good doctor, it’s important to look after yourself as well as the people around you. With the added stress of the career path, it can be difficult.

Doctors are often encouraged to take care of themselves, whether that’s taking days off to relax and get a massage or joining clubs to give them something to keep their mind off their work. Time out helps increase performance, resulting in more accurate decision making and strengthening your skills.

It’s worth considering indemnity as a defense against any accidents or claims of negligence. Look into MDO for advice and options for yourself or your practice. GPs can face challenges, so it’s encouraged that you look into indemnity to avoid being caught in financial strain. There are multiple options with indemnity, and you can get it through either your GP, or as an individual.

Go easy on yourself…

While your hours may be fairly regular, you might find yourself in there until late in the evening. Patient emergencies happen often, meaning it won’t be as easy to commit to free time. A number of GPs suffer from burnout, so most people will want to spend their free time relaxing.

Things can go wrong. As much as you may know, everyone makes mistakes, and anonymous doctors explained to Cosmopolitan about their difficulties in dealing with those mistakes. Many doctors have admitted they’ve got things wrong endless amounts of times, and a lot of GPs fear things going wrong. However, when you do thousands of tasks a day, you’re likely to get something wrong at least once. Most of the time it’s not going to affect anyone, but it’s worth remembering that things won’t always go your way.

There’s a lot of paperwork that comes with being a doctor. You need to remember to document everything from giving medication to completing procedures. Documentation helps ensure the patient’s safety, but also your own – it’s essential to keep a close eye on everything done in the doctor’s surgery.

One of the hardest things about becoming a GP is building relationships with people and dealing with a lot of loss. Many doctors, particularly in the start of their career, tend to be incredibly empathetic. It will affect you to hear what your patients are going through, and even more so when you learn they’ve passed away. You’ll need to give emotional support, and it may put a strain on your own emotional capability.

Things will continue to change throughout your career as a doctor. Becoming a GP is a difficult job for anyone, but it becomes one of the most rewarding roles for somebody to take on.

If you have the capability to be a doctor, it’s a worthwhile profession – but remember to look after yourself as well as those around you.


Jessica Foreman

About Jessica Foreman

I'm a Durham University graduate specialising in business and lifestyle-based writing. I have developed my skills on projects surrounding the BBC, and running a print and online-based magazine whilst at university. I am currently looking towards starting my Masters in Mobile and Personal Communications as well as broadening my horizons through travelling.