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Ingrid Norquay - General Practice Specialty Trainee - NHS Highland

Ingrid Norquay, General Practice Specialty Trainee, NHS Highland.

General Practice Specialty Training

Having been born and brought up in Orkney, I may be biased towards remote and rural practice, but I have had an amazing experience doing my training here.

Yes, it has been a challenge; there have been a few hairy moments when left in a hospital as the only resident doctor.  However, as a reward, my knowledge and skills have risen exponentially. I now have more confidence in my clinical skills, and have developed friendships with medical and nursing staff that I hope will be life-long.

I started working in the Highlands in August 2009 as a locum GPST in Caithness General. My responsibilities there were wide and varied.

Next I moved to the Balfour hospital in Orkney which was a similar role but without the night shifts! Working alongside experienced GPwSI in acute medicine and rural surgeons is invaluable experience, especially when it comes to clinical skills and decision-making - vital skills, when a patient requiring a CT scan (who may be reluctant to leave the island) requires transfer to Aberdeen.  There are weekly educational handover meetings which allow time to present or learn from consultants, GPs, GPSTs, medical students and AHPs.

I then spent a further year working in Orkney as a GPST1, in both Skerryvore practice and back in the hospital. I worked a 1 in 4 rota in the hospital post and had plenty of time to make the most of Orkney life. I particularly enjoyed some of the more adventurous activities on offer - climbing, kayaking, sea swimming, kite surfing and sailing. If that's not for you, there are walks, wildlife and archaeology and wonderful food to keep you occupied.

Next, I moved to Inverness where six months spent in Paediatrics provided a range of clinical experience: from the opportunity to attend outpatient clinics (I got most of my GP relevant learning from one clinic), to six months in A&E in Raigmore (essential to any GP trainee) to GP presentations in polytrauma.

I found that working with GPs with knowledge of the expectations of GP training meant they were more supportive of, and through, the assessment process.

Next, I am moving onto GP….and I cannot wait. It's time to put all my learning into place and achieve that CCT (Certificate of Completion of Training)

As I have only had a three-year training programme, there are still a few things I need to develop. So, having agreed learning objectives when working in the generality of the jobs in Wick, Orkney and A&E, I have focussed on specialities not covered in my training posts and have had opportunities to attend OPD clinics.

So, why remote and rural GP… ? 
It provides all the traditional training during posts with the added responsibilities of working in smaller departments combined with a unique life experience that can be taken into any GP setting. It opens your eyes to the opportunities that you have as a GP, whether in general practice or as a GP with specialist interest.