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What's it like being an Imperial College Community GP tutor? Dr Jose Crespo gives his views

I decided to become a General Practitioner when I realised that a robust primary care system is essential in the development and functioning of any Community. As GPs, we are the first port of call of all illnesses, whether acute or chronic, and we must remain up to date at all times to ensure excellent care. With this in mind, I was determined to not just become a GP, but to explore the different opportunities available to us. This determination led me to have a taste of performing my medical duties in a wide variety of places: traditional GP surgeries, hospitals, prisons, walk-in centres, out of hours services, 111 telephone service, urgent care centres and private practice. These experiences have offered me valuable insight into what makes the fibres of our Community function and why some medical problems are significantly skewed in some ethnicities, social circles or economic groups. But gaining this rewarding knowledge and exposure would somehow be fickle if I were not able to share it and allow others to build on it. This is where my interest in education resides.

When I learnt that Imperial College was interested in GP tutors, I jumped at it. Since then, I have been teaching CMT students who attend my clinics in groups and more recently I was delighted to be a PACES examiner for final year medical students. Imperial students are undoubtedly very special individuals, who are not only intelligent and smart, but also diligent, disciplined, inquisitive and creative. They learn and discuss ethical and social issues with the same attention and dedication as they do cardiovascular diseases. They have an excellent understanding that medicine is not simply about mentally storing a lot of information, but about using this information in a wider setting under many different circumstances.

Our discussions are enriching allowing me to learn and reflect on my daily practice. All Imperial College students I have dealt with share a common commitment of becoming well rounded, professional doctors with a very clear understanding of their future role in the Community. My recent experience as a PACES examiner has impressed me that the candidates examined are very worthy to now be titled as doctors. If my teaching and examining efforts can help create future GPs or specialists more aware of the many factors affecting medicine, I would be happy to have contributed to a stronger and improved Community.



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