Dr Louise qualified as a GP in 2014 and has worked in various locum roles around the south west and south east. She is currently on a long-term placement, via Athona, with a community hospital. Here she explains why community hospital medicine works for her.
I enjoy seeing new places and experiencing different ways of working
The locum lifestyle suits me. I enjoy going to different parts of the country to explore new areas and to see how things differ in different practices and hospitals.
I like the flexibility
Because my current job in a community hospital finishes at 5pm, there are evening clinics and other services that I can potentially work in. I also like being able to take as much leave as I need. I like travelling, so it’s a bonus to be able to go away quite a lot, while still having a job to come back to.
I can get to know my patients better, and follow up on treatments
In the community hospital where I currently work, I see patients on a day-to-day basis, so I might implement treatment in the morning and then review the patient a bit later on that day to see how things are going. This would be a lot more difficult to arrange in general practice.
It’s useful to get involved with the patient’s relatives as well
I get to find out a bit more about the patient’s background, setting, and how I might be able to help the patient and their relatives upon discharge. This would be a lot more difficult to achieve in general practice when you often only have ten minutes to try to establish the patient’s concern, examination, diagnosis and treatment. In the community hospital setting, another team member such as an occupational therapist can offer help and may contact family or friends of the patient to gather further information.
By working closely with other team members, I get to see the bigger picture
I really like working with a lot of other members of staff; working in a big team definitely helps. For example, a physiotherapist might come across a problem, but the solution may be an issue that needs resolving together. I’m then able to help there and then. Other team members can offer their specialist opinion; for example, pharmacists, who may be able to explain more about the effects a medication may have on a patient. I have found having specialist professionals on-site an invaluable learning opportunity.
I’ve learnt a lot from my experience
I’m focused more on care of the elderly in my current job, which comes in useful when I do some general practice work as well. I find I’m more confident in terms of caring for older patients when they come into the GP setting. By talking to other specialists on a more regular basis, I find I have more of an understanding of how they may help patients once out of my care.
My work-life balance is much better
It helps that I live a couple of miles down the road, but I don’t have to work very late in the evening now. I don’t have to take my job home with me, as I know that the nurses are here to keep an eye on the patients when I leave and, if necessary, they can contact an out-of-hours doctor. I am often able to leave work on time which allows me to live a healthy social life outside of work.
If community medicine sounds right for you, why not give us a call to find out how you could get a better work-life balance and transform your life? Contact the community medicine team on 01277 217777.