NEWLY QUALIFIED GP – WHAT NOW?

YOU’RE A NEWLY QUALIFIED GP – NOW WHAT?

You’re a newly qualified GP – congratulations! So what now? There are many avenues you are able to explore as a newly qualified GP, which only makes the decision-making harder. Have you considered working as a locum GP? Have a read over some of the advantages and disadvantages of working as a locum GP, and see if this type of work could appeal to you!

Your Career 

The type of GP you become will depend on your inner motivations.

As a locum GP:  you will be able to reap the benefits of flexible working hours and, revel in the advantages of not being tied into a partnership contract. This is a particularly attractive advantage of locum GP work that may be appealing to a newly qualified GP.

 “78% of locum GPs cite flexible working hours as a key reason to becoming a locum” (Pulse GP Jobs Survey, 2015).

Imagine working the hours you choose, and not having to compromise on your earnings in the process. With this in mind, as a locum GP there are a number of different roles that are available to you:

Out of hours GP:  Unlike a salaried GP, this role is mainly clinical in nature with minimal continuity of care. There are very few patients that you will see on a regular basis. If, as newly qualified GP, you like the idea of focusing mainly on the clinical side of things, and putting your newly-obtained knowledge into practice, without having to worry about building strong relationships with your patients, this could be a good role for you.

Appraisal and Revalidation

A necessary requirement for all GPs is appraisal and revalidation. Your first five years will be a crucial period in which you should try to collate and scan evidence of learning and reflection. Part of the revalidation process is being able to demonstrate that you took part in yearly appraisals which outline the full scope of work you covered including your own reflections on some of the following:

  • continuing professional development (CPD)
  • feedback from colleagues and patients
  • significant events
  • quality improvement activity
  • review of complaints and compliments

Arguably, it would be easier to collate this information if you spent some time working as a locum GP, as it would provide a greater scope of reflection, and would provide evidence that you are able to adapt to a range of different environments, whilst still displaying an impressive quality in the standard of work completed.

It is important that you start looking into this area very early on in your working career because collecting evidence over time will make the whole process easier for you, no matter which career path you choose to explore.

Getting Support

As with anything in life, when you are a new to something you are still learning, which means that you may feel out of your depth in certain areas before you are able to properly get into the swing of things. Obviously, you know what you’re doing, and have all of your qualifications behind you to prove it, but at times, you may feel like a lone soldier out in the field, unsure of where to turn to for back-up.

Maybe you feel like your colleagues all know what they’re doing and would think less of you if you continue to ask questions. But if you are unsure about anything e.g. how to use the company system, or even something as simple as not knowing where something is kept – you should never feel afraid to ask for help. Many new GPs even take on a mentor to help them get through their first five years from being newly qualified to revalidation. Plus it is always better to ask questions and learn from them than suffer in silence and continue being unsure – the chances are, if you’re on edge, then this anxiety will rub off on your patients.

Make sure you are clear about how to deal with difficult patients by reading the practice policy if they have one. This will help you to ensure that you and your patients understand the boundaries that have been put in place and what constitutes as acceptable behaviour.

Additional reading: The benefits of being a locum GP for more information.


Getting started with locum GP work

As a locum GP you are able to earn an impressive income; start building your network and work flexible hours within days of your registration! 

Rather than doing it yourself, using a medical recruitment agency to help you find locum GP work removes the stress that a newly qualified GP may already be experiencing, by helping with the administrative side of things i.e.: making you aware of exactly what documents need to be updated, finding you suitable work, and dealing with all of your invoices.

“Almost two-thirds (64%) of freelance (locum) GPs say they do not envisage looking for a GP partnership in the future” (General Practitioners Committee – Future of General Practice Survey 2015)

Hopefully having read this article, you feel you have some more insight into what it means to work as a locum GP, and perhaps you feel you are ready to decide what it is you’d like to do next.

Call our GP team on 01582 394810, or click here to complete our contact form

THE BENEFITS OF WORKING AS A LOCUM GP

THE BENEFITS OF WORKING AS A LOCUM GP

As more trainees move away from partnerships in favour of locum work you may be curious about the benefits of working as a locum GP. Is it something worth exploring and could it fit into your lifestyle?  Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of GP locum work.


Advantages of GP Locum Work

A reduction in administrative duties:  While there will be routine admin duties to fulfil locum GPs are not subject to and as responsible for the administrative duties that surgeries must adhere to. This gives a locum the freedom to focus on patient care.

Work-Home Balance:  You have the freedom to choose where you work, for how long, and when you are available to work. Fit work around your family.

Whether you only want to work one day a week, on weekends, out of hours or you like the idea of working part-time for two different practices (earning a full-time salary) this type of flexibility is available to locum GPs.

If you have a hobby or passion for something unrelated to your GP work that you want to focus on working as a locum GP will mean that you continue to bring in an income while you enjoy working on your passion.

78% of locum GPs cite flexible working hours as a key reason to becoming a locum (Pulse GP Jobs Survey, 2015).

Tax Advantages:  As a locum GP your employment status is “contractor” which means you can set yourself up as a business and some of your expenses (e.g. travel/mileage, training costs, equipment etc) have the potential to be a tax deductable expense and can be offset against your earnings.

Contact your tax advisor or accountant for more information about your personal circumstances because many locum GPs find they end up paying less tax.

Supplement your income: It is a great way to supplement your income. If you are a partner or employed GP looking to supplement your income or a retired GP looking for occasional work locum shifts can be invaluable.

Grow your experience and network: Working as GP locum is a great introduction into general practice outside of your training practice.  As you work in different roles within different primary care settings your personal network will grow.

Disadvantages of GP Locum Work

So, those are all the advantages of GP locum work but are there any disadvantages? There are a few that you need to consider before deciding whether this way of working is right for you.

Lack of stability – It can be harder to build relationships with your co-workers and feel part of a team if you are constantly moving to different surgeries.  This is part of being a GP that Medical Staffing look to reduce by providing our locum GPs with medium and long-term contracts lasting several months.

You may need to be familiar with a range of different software packages. This won’t be such an issue as your knowledge increases but when you first start working within locum roles you may find there are different software packages that you have to become familiar with if you want to widen your scope of job opportunities.

Time spent travelling to and from your work location may sometimes be an issue if you can’t find work within your local area. While we work towards matching local GPs with local work this aspect of locum work is sometimes unavoidable.

Using Agencies vs Doing It Alone

Some GPs decide to find their own work. This means not only are they responsible for sourcing new work, they must also invoice work (and all the work that chasing invoices can entail), and be responsible for keeping accurate records for income tax purposes.

You will have to be very organised to keep up with all this work yourself while also carrying out your role. Eventually, you may have to take on the extra expense of paying someone to manage your paperwork for you and all the extra work that is involved with that (paying a salary, PAYE records etc).

If you decide to find your own GP locum work you may want to also hire an accountant who will be responsible for your tax returns for the tax year. Even though you pay an accountant to do this work for you, you are still responsible for ensuring that all details are submitted on time.

Contrast and compare “doing it alone” versus working for a primary care recruitment agency such as Medical Staffing.

Local long-term work: Our commitment is to find you local, long-term contract work – no need to find work yourself, we do that for you.

Diary management: Enjoy full diary management. We manage the diary of our locum GPs so they know exactly when and where they are working.

Regular Pay: Paid on time and on a regular basis. As a locum GP working with Medical Staffing we pay within three days.

Because all of this work is taken care of for you, it leaves you free to simply turn up at your work location.

There are many benefits of working as a locum GP. It can provide some definite advantages depending on your lifestyle – the work home balance being one of them.

If you are ready to work as a locum GP, register to find out more about our locum GP jobs.

DEVELOPMENT OF A PRIMARY CARE NURSE

DEVELOPMENT OF A PRIMARY CARE NURSE

Lifelong learning and adult education has now become an extremely important part of being a Primary Care Nurse. With the introduction of Revalidation for nurses continuing your education is vital.

If you have been away from studying for some time the prospect of CPD and formal learning might seem a little daunting. There are many different methods of learning that you can undertake and a variety of educational options on offer, so chances are you will find one that suits you.

In order to make the learning process more accessible, the General Practice Foundation provides access to a number of useful learning tools.

Nurses are an important part of delivering care in general practice. There has been a huge shift of care from hospitals to general practice, providing nurses with some really exciting career choices.


WORKING AS A GENERAL PRACTICE NURSE

General Practice Nurses work in GP surgeries as part of the primary healthcare team, which might include doctors, pharmacists and dietitians.

Working for a smaller practice might include working on your own. You may be asked to take on many roles and share responsibilities – every practice will be different.

If you work for a larger practice, you might be one of several practice nurses sharing responsibilities and duties.

There are many different aspects of patient care you may become involved in including:

  • Smoking cessation.
  • Child immunisations and advice.
  • Minor and complex wound management including leg ulcers.
  • Sexual health services.
  • Obtaining blood samples.
  • Family planning & women’s health including cervical smears (Cervical Cytology Training – are increasingly becoming mandatory by PCTs and recommended by all cytology laboratories).
  • Men’s health screening.
  • Travel health advice and vaccinations.
  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs) .
  • Mandatory training is required by health & safety legislation such as moving and handling training and fire training.
  • Child Protection Training – All nurses and HCAs working in general practice will require initial and regular updates to ensure that they are kept aware of child protection issues.
  • Annual Basic Life Support training – This is a requirement of QOF for all clinical staff working in general practice.

INDEPENDENT PRESCRIBER TRAINING

Nurses wishing to extend their role to become prescribers will need the support of a GP to be able to become safe and competent as a prescriber. The Department of Health has produced guidance on these courses.

General practice nurses may also have direct supervision of healthcare assistants at the practice.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR GENERAL PRACTICE NURSES

You must be fully qualified and registered as a child, mental health, adult or learning disability nurse in order to work in general practice.

With the emphasis on revalidating your skills every few years, you will also need to be willing to undertake further education and training after being appointed. Some practices require specific skills, experience and knowledge from their nurses e.g. health promotion or working with patients with long-term conditions.

It is recommended that registered nurses check with local employers and training providers to see what is on offer.


TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT FOR GENERAL PRACTICE NURSES

To retain your registration to practice with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, you will need to meet their post-registration education and practice (PREP) standards.

More information on the PREP standards is available on the NMC website.


DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN NURSING

Practice nurses who dedicate time to further training and building their experience eventually go on to apply for more senior nursing positions, such as advanced nurse practitioner positions and senior nurse practitioner/practice nurse roles.

Senior nurses enjoy a lot more autonomy in the work they perform and one of their many responsibilities include managing their own caseloads.


THE ROLE OF A GENERAL PRACTICE NURSE

Current policy is increasingly shifting care from hospitals to general practice and Nurses play an important part in delivering that care. This shift also provides nurses with really exciting career choices.

The General Practice Career Framework provides a clear pathway which nurses can use to guide and shape their career within general practice.

A general practice will include staff with a range of different skills from Nurse Partners (level 9) and Advanced Nurse Practitioners (levels 7-8) to Practice Nurses (5-7) and Health Care Assistants (levels 2-4).


FURTHER CAREER DEVELOPMENT

As your education and experience advances practice nurses have an opportunity to apply for senior roles such as Senior Practice Nurse.

To successfully secure a more senior role you’ll usually be trained to a minimum of degree level. Your role spans aspects of nursing and medicine enabling you to treat a patient appropriately. With this in mind, your training needs to include skills such as physical assessment, diagnosis, research and health promotion, safe prescribing and consultation skills.


SENIOR PRACTICE NURSE/NURSE PRACTITIONER

Senior practice nurses use their experience as a practice nurse to focus on aspects of care previously administered by GPs. Your role may include providing preventative healthcare to the local community and working with patients with long term conditions.


ADVANCED NURSE PRACTITIONER

An Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) role includes providing the type of care that a Nurse Practitioner provides including a prescribing qualification and master’s level training.

A qualified ANP is also able to:

  • Prescribe medicines and non-medical treatments.
  • Take a full patient history.
  • Carry out reviews and prescribe for all types of minor illness.
  • Refer patients to an appropriate specialist (in the practice or hospital).
  • Arrange follow-up and ongoing management.
  • Carry out any physical examinations.
  • Use their knowledge to identify a likely diagnosis.
  • Request appropriate tests to aid diagnosis (blood tests, x-rays, scans).

Medical staffing are specialists in placing all grades of nurses into different establishments within primary care. For further information on how we can support you through your career – click here to complete our contact form.