“Are you going to be a specialist? Or just a GP?”

The “Are you just a GP?” question and its variants are so frustrating. You can read my rather unusual response to that question in this column:
(First published RACGP’s Good Practice magazine, Jan/Feb 2013)

or to quote from the song  “The One to See is Your GP” from GP the Musical:

“Specialists aren’t that special after all

Narrow, limited, not general

The one to see is your GP


With a little science and a lot of care

In times of trouble your GP will be there

Nobody can fix you faster

With a few words, pills or plaster

The one to see is your GP”

Nomadic GP

“Are you going to be a specialist? Or just a GP?”

As a medical student and junior doctor in my hospital training years, I was often asked this question by friends, senior doctors and well meaning patients.  It really grated on me, that one little word: “just”.

I always thought I’d become a GP. As a teenager, I was inspired to study medicine by my own GP who had always looked after my family with such care and compassion.  As I went through my training I dabbled with the idea of other specialties; I was fascinating by the life stories of my geriatric patients, I loved the cute-factor of paediatrics, I was hooked on the emotional highs and lows of obstetrics, I enjoyed the team atmosphere of the emergency department. But I think, deep down, that I always knew I liked ALL of medicine too much and that above all I…

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