Aspiring medics sign up for virtual GP work experience

An interactive general practice work experience platform, launched by the Royal College of GPs during the coronavirus pandemic, has received 10,000 registrations within its first three months.

The Observe GP video platform is aimed at aspiring medics aged 16 and over who wish to learn more about general practice. Initially developed by the RCGP to provide an innovative way for students to shadow the primary care team, the platform has allowed them to insight of what it’s like to work in general practice from their homes while the country has been in lockdown.

Each year UK medical schools receive approximately 20,000 applications. As part of the process, students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the realities of medicine, often through clinical work experience. However, placements are traditionally hard to find for reasons including the intense workload pressures GPs and their teams are working under. As such, Observe GP has already been publicly endorsed by more than half of UK medical schools.

The registered aspiring medics can access a series of pre-recorded videos and take part in activities to gain an understanding of primary care, as they would during a traditional work experience placement in a GP surgery.

Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Many aspiring doctors will have watched with admiration as GPs and colleagues across the NHS have gone above and beyond throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – it’s important we engage with those students to highlight general practice as a viable career option, and Observe GP has been an excellent vehicle for doing so.

"Ten thousand registrations in four months is incredibly encouraging for the future of our profession, particularly when you consider that UK medical schools receive around 20,000 applicants each school year. This level of engagement reflects that a significant number of aspiring medics are interested in general practice and for good reason - being a GP can be the best job in the world.
"Observe GP can be used at any time by any one so the limitations of traditional work experience such as schedule clashes and social inequalities are eliminated. Covid-19 has also presented as a challenge for many students who planned to use their summer holidays to gain relevant work experience but we hope that initiatives, such as GP Observe will prove useful in providing an alternative for bright aspiring medics at a time when we’re all working differently."

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