“Generations Y and Z medical students have career aspirations that embrace diversity, flexibility, [and] globalism,” stated a 2016 report by Health Education England and the Medical Schools Council about how to make general practice more attractive to medical students. It concluded that general practice is the specialty that most closely matches the future working preferences of millennials. In this issue, we take a closer look at this specialty.
General practice has an image problem within the medical profession. On p 87 Kathy Oxtoby explores where this negativity stems from, and what is being done to tackle low levels of recruitment in general practice. On p 54 we also talk to general practitioners about some common misconceptions about the job, as well as ask what the future holds. On p 82, Jasraj Panesar, a final year medical student from Imperial College London, interviews three portfolio GPs who combine their clinical work with something else. And on p 36, Kamila Hawthorne, vice chair of professional development at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), and Matilda Esan and David Thomas, junior doctors who have just completed their rotation in general practice, offer advice on how to get the most out of your placement in the specialty.
Elsewhere in this issue, in the education section Patrick Robinson, a foundation year 2 doctor, and his orthopaedic colleagues provide a step by step guide for applying a plaster cast to forearm injuries, on p 58. Marina Soltan, a foundation year 1 doctor, and Rachel Westacott, a consultant nephrologist, explain how to interpret and fill in an observations chart when monitoring acutely ill patients, on p 62. And on p 72, Keith Oliver, a retired headteacher, talks about his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, the practical challenges of living with the condition, and his interactions with healthcare professionals.
And it wouldn’t be an issue of Student BMJ without exploring some of the grey areas of medicine. On p 11, Paul Welford, a final year medical student from St George’s London, looks into the secretive world of students who take cognitive drugs to get through their studies. According to a small survey we carried out, of 1122 students who replied, 8.3% (94) admitted they had taken “smart drugs” at least once during their studies. Welford looks at what drives students who take them, and the risks to their health and professional standing. Marika Davies, a medicolegal adviser for Medical Protection, looks at two ethical conundrums: hiding drugs in patients’ food (p 98) and disclosing a needlestick injury you had on elective (p 99).
If you’re applying to medical school, we’re now in interview season. We provide several articles written by admissions tutors and medical students on how to approach panel interviews and multiple mini interviews (pp 112-117). We also provide advice on what to do if you don’t receive an interview on p 118.
Wherever you are on your journey through medical school, I hope you have a happy and productive 2017.Matthew Billingsley, editor, Student BMJ
Competing interests: None declared.
Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.
- Health Education England, Medical Schools Council. By choice—not by chance. 2016. www.hee.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/documents/By%20choice%20not%20by%20chance%20web%20FINAL.pdf