Dr Janette McGuinness, GP & Lecturer in General Practice
You will attend GP practices during the early part of clinical one and again during the Medicine in the Community module. Primary care medicine will give you an insight into how disease impacts the patient, their families and the community. This section of the guide should help prepare you to make the most of your community placements.
In stage 4, you should spend time shadowing the GP and learning at their side, taking opportunities to practice your developing skills under their supevision where opportunities arise. In stage 5 placements, you should attempt to integrate yourself into the day to day business of the practice. You should make yourself available to help nursing staff, for example with vaccine clinics or chronic care clinics. Reception staff and practice managers will give you an insight into the business matters involved in running a practice. Be professional in all your dealings with ancillary staff and keep in mind that they are running a business and at times it may not be possible to facilitate you.
To get the most from your clinical placement in general practice we also recommend that you identify your learning needs prior to your attachment and communicate these to your respective GP tutors when contacting them. This allows them to focus their teaching on areas which will most benefit you.
- All general advice in this guide applies also to general practice settings
- Contact your GP in advance to confirm arrangements regarding starting times, meeting place and also learning needs.
- Ensure you are punctual and have researched appropriate transportation in advance.
- Dress in a professional and conservative manner in accordance with guidelines set out in this document & display your UCD Student ID at all times. White coats are not necessary in General Practice.
- Observe all guidelines for professional engagement with patients including those of choice, consent and confidentiality
- Patients may sometimes entrust students with key pieces of information or with questions which have troubled them for some time. Acknowledge the importance of the issue to the patient but do not offer your own judgements on such topics. Ensure that your tutor is aware of the issue raised.
- When working with other members of the practice staff or primary care team, observe the same high standards of professional behaviour.
- General Practice is, by its nature, unpredictable and there may be times that are quiet or when you will be not able to sit in. Please use this down time to your advantage, ensure you have reading material with you so you can research cases you have seen that day or look up medications you may be unfamiliar with.
- Most practices have internet access. Check with your GP if you are allowed to use this for medical research purposes. It is unacceptable to use a practice internet connection for personal matters unless you have the specific permission of the GP concerned. Some practices have an internet usage policy – check for this at the beginning of your attachment.