A general practitioner is typically the first medical professional a patient will see when they have a medical condition. Such professionals would typically work as part of a multi-disciplined unit, in which there will be an array of general practitioners. A GP would be the first person a patient discloses their symptoms and general condition to, whether done in a doctor’s clinic or when the general practitioner visits the patient at their home. A GP would need to have a good general knowledge of the medical discipline.

When consulting patients a GP would advise them on the best course of action. This may be through prescribed medication, a change in the patient’s lifestyle or by recommending them to a specialist. A general practitioner may need to treat patients with conditions ranging from the common cold, athletes foot or a mental illness. A general practitioner would work in a general practice situated in a particular community, but there is the possibility of working in a general hospital setting.

Work activities

Typical work activities a general practitioner would need to carry out include:

  • Work setting may be a doctor’s clinic, general hospital or private clinic.
  • Provide general diagnosis and treatment for patients.
  • Do your best to treat patient conditions, or recommend them medication or a change in lifestyle.
  • Patients may need to be recommended to a specialist, such as a physiotherapist.
  • Illnesses would vary to a great extent. At one moment you may be treating a patient with a rash, while the next you may be discussing sexual infections with a teenager.
  • You will need to visit patients at home if they can not make it to the doctor’s clinic.
  • Issues a GP would deal with include those that are physical, psychological and social.
  • A GP would need to constantly brush up on medical practices in order to learn of any advances in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Essential skills

  • Organised and professional manner.
  • Comforting manner.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Able to work as an individual and as part of a multi-disciplined unit.
  • Be knowledgeable of both your skills and limitations.
  • Real desire to help patients get better.
  • Desire to keep studying in order to keep up-to-date with any advances in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Able to work with a wide range of individuals.