Saturday, June 30, 2012


If I could describe my GP placement with one word I would use the word: "Dull". Dull might even be an understatement. I have caught myself so many times zoning out during consultations. Again my frustrations are growing as I still cannot do anything in clinic. The most I can do is maybe do manual blood pressures. I guess the only thing I can take away so far from GP is the difficulty of immigrants. My practice sees a lot of immigrants and most of these people can't speak English.  You realize that it is very difficult to get a patient history and even more difficult when you have to talk to your patient through an interpreter.

We had one patient who was from Slovakia and could not speak very much English.  It was requested that an interpreter come, but he/she did not show up so the patient attempted to tell us her problem in broken English. Unfortunately, her problem was a mental health related problem so patient history is really important and there was no way we will get what is the problem as her English was not cutting it. We resorted to using the phone interpreter. I swear those things are not user friendly.  The interpreters aren't that great and it is really awkward having a phone in between the patient and you and the phone is on speakerphone so it is quite difficult to hear what the interpreter is saying.  Even weirder is that you lose a lot of rapport with the patient as both of you are trying to talk into a phone. Very confusing stuff.  After 45+ minutes (when it should've been 10 minutes), the GP gave up. It got far too complicated and too difficult to get a proper patient history. I felt like we wasted a lot of time and it obviously makes the clinic run quite behind. We asked the patient to bring an interpreter next time and you just can't help but feel a bit annoyed that you wasted 45 minutes only to get nothing accomplished.  The next few patients weren't too pleased either as clinic got quite delayed. When one patient sees that you spend 30+ minutes with one patient, they think they have the right to have 30 minutes as well and it's hard to cut people short and to keep them on topic about their medical problem/presenting complaint.  When you're running behind, the last thing you want to hear about is what the patient did on the weekend.

I have no problems admitting that GPs are extremely patient people and their job is certainly not easy.  I just feel like I would have a lot of difficulty maintaining my composure during consultations especially when it gets quite frustrating.  I do consider myself quite patient, but I guess not patient enough for GP and probably the main reason why I'm having a difficult time enjoying this placement.  Worst bit is that I still have another 5 weeks to go. Thankfully I am only in 3 days/week so my weeks won't be too long. I'll take it that I have 15 more practice days.  That doesn't sound too bad...I guess....

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