It took me 10 years to realize that I actually enjoyed being a GP, or rather I finally recognized myself as having become a true Family Doctor. It was not an easy, believe me, it took a long time to get over the “inferiority complex” of having all of your Medical School friends getting their specialization in Orthopaedics, Anaesthetics, Cardiovascular Surgery …. And here I was … a GP … just a GP.
I’m not even sure what triggered that “light bulb” moment but suddenly I realized that over the years I have created so many fantastic patient-doctor relationships, and that I would not want to trade those experiences in for just another diploma on my wall.
So I tried to analyses exactly what makes just a GP become a true Family Doctor … all the highs and lows, all the good parts, and the not so good parts … and came up with my own…
10 COMMANDEMENTS FOR A FAMILY DOCTOR:
The patient is thy God, and thy shalt have no other patients but them: be focused and take the time to really listen to your patients – as if they were your only patient. Respect them and their symptoms and treat them all like the fellow humans that they are, but bear in mind that just as no disease presents equally in all people, so no 2 people are equal, respect those differences and approach them accordingly.
Thou shalt be available to your patients: even if they phone you at 3am on a Sunday because of an itchy rash they had for the last 4 days … you can still scream, cry , vent and call them names in the privacy of your car … as you’re driving out for the house call!
I’m not sure what Moses would make of all these ramblings, but for me at least, these basic rules have helped to keep me on track with what being a Family Doctor is all about!