David Earley, GP Trainee

What is your current role – what was your path to get here?
I work as a GP Registrar (ST3) in a busy North Aberdeenshire Practice.  Before this I spent the last 6 years working in different hospital posts.  Before studying Medicine I worked in several jobs – I left school at 15yrs to be a trawlerman.  I left this after a few years and went into science – initially working in the Oil Industry before going into post-grad academia (neurophysiology of cockroach motorneurones!).  I found the academic side interesting but really missed ‘normal’ human contact.  Consequently I opted for clinical medicine and have never looked back (apart from the odd glance out to sea!).

What does your role involve?
The Practice I work in comprises a Surgery, a Casualty, a 30 bed Community ward.  We also have X-ray facilities.  Consequently the work in the Surgery is highly variable – most Monday mornings are spent in Casualty seeing and managing acute cases which vary from sprains/strains to MI’s to colles fractures.
The Practice have also assigned me to look after one of the local nursing homes so I do a ward round once a week there – this has been a great opportunity to be involved in continuity of care.  The issues can be simple e.g. rashes, or more complex e.g. addressing medico-legal problems in the arena of multi-disciplinary meetings for patients with borderline cognition.
The Surgery sessions are very variable and I am beginning to learn that no matter how much I know I will never know enough – it is almost more important that I know how to deal with what I don’t know!

What influenced your decision to be a GP?
I am interested in people – I feel that GP will give me a chance to see and be involved in ‘humanity’ to a greater extent than other Specialties.
I also chose GP because whilst a medical student/junior doctor in hospital the GP’s I met were often the most enthusiastic of my mentors.
Having married very recently I wanted to choose a Specialty which is family-friendly – I believed GP would tick this box more so than any of the other specialties I have experienced.

What do you think about your career now?
I find the work very busy – a typical day whilst a final year Trainee starts at 0830hrs and finishes at approx 1830hrs.  I am also finding that so much of what we were taught about communication skills as students is vitally important, as is empathy and enthusiasm.

What do you like most about your work?
Firstly the variety is unbeatable.  Coming from a scientific background I love trying to figure out what is going on when someone is ill, often without the benefit of investigation results – I find this challenging.

Probably most of all I really enjoy the brief opportunity afforded through my work to get involved in peoples lives, and the challenge to try and make a positive difference.