Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Skills required in General Practice

When I give feedback to my Doctors in training, I often refer to the three core skills of a GP.

In my opinion, there are 3 core skills in General Practice.
  1. Firstly, the mindset which to me is the most important.  In my opinion, a good mindset for a GP is the compassionate detachment mindset where one is detached enough to not be "drawn" into the drama but still "connected" enough to care for our patients.  The problem is that Doctors are sometimes "too compassionate" and prone to compassionate fatigue. When we get burnt out, sometimes we can become too detached and lose our "care factor" which is not a good thing in a "care" industry.  How to achieve this is not easy but certainly awareness is a key starting point.
  2. The process ie how do we go about working through a problem.  To simplify things, I often divide the process into 4 steps.  First of all, "What is the problem".  Then "Why is this a problem".  Then once we understand this, we can then implement strategies to deal with the what and the why.  Then we have to review the process to see if the problem has been resolved or not.  In medical jargon, it is the history taking, examination, differential diagnoses, management and then review.
  3. Content.  The problem in General Practice is that content is so broad and so it is impossible to know everything.  Hence, one of the approach we take in General Practice is to become resourceful with content.  If we do not know, then a phone call to a specialist, pathologist, an allied health professional or other colleagues is always at hand.  If we don't know, simply ask.  The key is to become resourceful.

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