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Teaching Medical Students: A View from the Community:

Dr Beena Gohil Winner of the 2014 Year 5 GP Teacher of the Year Award gives her views about teaching medical students in Primary Care.

Introduction
I have been a GP since 2002 (following several years of indecision where I did a couple of years of hospital medicine, followed by anaesthetics before realising where I actually wanted to be!). I have always practised in the Ealing area of London, and have been in the same practice since 2002.

What inspired you to start teaching?
I was inspired to start teaching after hearing feedback from other teachers about how rewarding teaching medical students could be.

How does teaching fit in with your clinical practice?
Teaching year 5 students fits in reasonably well, as I ensure that I have blocks within the clinic session for whoever is teaching them, ensuring that the student has time to discuss the patient they have seen and to then discuss diagnoses and management. We discuss their timetable on day 1 and try to ensure that any outstanding learning needs are met.

What motivates you to continue as a GP and educator and how do you maintain compassion and resilience?
Compassion is a natural part of General Practice as is empathy- a big part of the job is being able to keep patient’s problems at an arm’s length and this is something that I think students get a chance to see during their attachments. In hospital settings, it can be difficult to form the long-standing relationships that GPs do with their patients, and part of the attachment is learning how we manage this.

Tell us an anecdote about an interesting experience or highlight with a student
I have had excellent students who have formed such good relationships with their patient for the patient journey that they have discovered facts that I was not aware of. One spotted that a patient had cervical myelopathy just by asking him what bothered him most.

Any tips for new GP teachers?
Teaching is definitely a rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to do something outside just seeing patients and also wanting to look at General Practice through external eyes.

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