The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have launched a free online interactive video platform - Observe GP – to allow aspiring medics to gain insights into general practice from anywhere in the UK, regardless of geography or family networks.
Aspiring medics – pupils aged 16-18 who are considering a career in medicine - have historically, been encouraged to gain work experience placements in healthcare as part of their medicine degree application. It is, however, widely understood that there can be inequities in who can access these placements, often based on family connections. In recent years, many medical schools have broadened their requirements and thanks to the work of the Medical Schools Council we are seeing a shift towards encouraging students to gain a variety of ‘relevant experiences'.
The RCGP are spearheading this message - work experience is one-way applicants can gain insight into medicine but there are other relevant experiences and Observe GP is one of them.
The platform, in many ways goes further than a work experience placement can - the videos allow viewers to watch consultations in split screen, witnessing the body language of both the patient and clinician face on. Key terminology and activities appear on screen to reinforce learning and prompt reflection. Applicants are encouraged to complete Observe GP alongside other relevant experiences whether that be volunteering in a care home or healthcare setting, informal discussions with medical professionals, reading or listening to podcasts.
The RCGP Schools Outreach team explained their motivations:
"The platform is for all 20,000+ applicants to medicine each year. With 90% of care in the NHS being undertaken in general practice, we feel it is imperative that aspiring medics develop their understanding of the realities of medicine routed in knowledge of primary care."
The videos include a variety of patients and conditions and allow the viewer to meet many of the general practice team including the Practice Manager, Receptionist, GP Trainee, Pharmacist, several GPs and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. Themes of the videos include long term condition management, self-care, communication, and person-centred care.
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The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. The College exists to represent and support its members throughout their careers while also inspiring tomorrow’s GP's.