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I’ve finished training,
what’s next?

Dr Peter SloaneAt the outset of GP training, four years seems like an eternity. The only consideration is to get stuck into becoming a GP. Few trainees think beyond the training post they are doing, their next exam, or their pending presentation, piece of research, or audit – training is a very busy place to be.

Sometime during fourth year, the reality of needing to find work sinks in. While there are always a few who already have jobs lined up, that isn’t the case for most trainees. I remember it well from my fourth year: that dawning realisation that I would no longer have a regular HSE salary and that the EFT payment wouldn’t automatically be in my bank account.

I’m not sure many trainees will believe me, but more than two years later I’ve never actually had to look for work, have found myself working more than I’d like, and have lost the fear of being unable to find work. Despite all the economic doom and gloom and the uncertainty facing general practice, the truth in Ireland right now is that we face a shortage of GPs and in particular GP locums. In hindsight, I really needn’t have worried so much about finding work.

So, the questions arise: How do you find work? What are the options? What support, if any, is available? And ultimately, how do you lose the fear of not finding work?

The first and most important aspect of finding work is to be aware of the possibilities and to be prepared. Assuming you wish to remain in general practice (as there are always a few who opt to go back to hospital medicine), there is actually a defined set of steps which you can take to be prepared.

Sometime during fourth year, the reality of needing to find work sinks in

Firstly, it is imperative to prepare a good CV. It is best if your CV is clear, concise and easily legible with all information on one side of A4 paper. At the top, include basic details (name,

Medical Council number, indemnity details, telephone number, and email), and below, share succinct information under clearly laid out headings of clinical career history, education and qualifications, clinical skills qualifications, and any relevant management/leadership experience. Referees, usually three, should be listed, having first obtained their permission.

Whilst it is tempting to list other achievements and information (such as interests, hobbies, etc) this information is superfluous.

You must disseminate your availability to work as widely as possible

Secondly, you must disseminate your availability to work as widely as possible. This can be done through word of mouth or in writing to GPs, practice managers and practice secretaries in the geographical area in which you want to work, with local out-of-hours GP co-ops or corporate GP enterprises, by placing a free advertisement on the ICGP classifieds, via GP training schemes’ email lists, or by placing advertisements in the medical press classifieds.

Thirdly, you should become familiar with and regularly check the many places in which work is advertised or made known. This will again include through word of mouth (on the GP “grapevine”, small group CME, local Faculty, training schemes, clinical societies), on the ICGP classifieds, on the NEGs discussion boards and other online discussion fora, via GP training programmes, and in the classifieds section of the medical press. Advertisements for GMS lists can also be found on the HSE website.

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