GP and Professor of Primary Care Research - Hull.
WHAT WiseGP WORK DO YOU DO?
First and foremost, I am a clinician I work with patients – people who are ill and need our help to understand why and what they can do about it. I help patients make sense of their illness, so we can plan a way to move forward. Based on an audit of practice I did some years ago, I estimate that only about half of the people I see have an illness that can be explained/dealt with by a disease protocol. Meaning I spend much of my time dealing with uncertainty. Every patient I see helps me generate the ‘practical wisdom’ – the experiential knowledge - that I need to do my job.
I am also an academic GP – using the skills of scientific thinking to generate new knowledge for practice. My research aims to help us understand how we can get better at delivering person-centred health care. I work with patients as well as professionals from across the health service to think about what we are doing well, and what we need to do differently. So that we can generate, implement and test new ways of working and so help people who are ill to make sense of their illness and move forward…
And I work with students as well as established professionals to help them develop their skills and confidence in the knowledge work of daily practice. Definitely a part of my job that requires me to think for a living!
HOW HAVE YOU DEVELOPED YOUR KNOWLEDGE WORK SKILLS FOR THESE ROLES?
I started my career working in Public Health, working with local communities to understand their health needs. I think it was here that I started being curious – with the opportunity to question some of the ideas I had been taught in medical school, and find new ways to think about healthcare. I was involved in a number of projects where I learnt to search and review the literature, evaluate projects in progress, and write recommendation reports.
I did a Masters in Public Health as part of my clinical training. This was a chance for me to further develop the knowledge, skills, and most of all a language to start exploring the things that made me curious. I finished the course with a question buzzing round my head… Why do we privilege scientific stories (evidence) over patient stories? Doing a PhD was supposed to switch off the buzzing but the reality was the opposite.
I have since worked in a series of clinical academic roles to develop the skills, experience and networks that allow me to contribute knowledge for practice: as a lecturer, clinician scientist, senior lecturer, reader and now professor. All underpinned by a continued commitment to person-centred care and general practice.
WHY DOES BEING A WiseGP MATTER TO YOU?
Clinical scholarship allows me to be the doctor I want to be: to deliver the highest standards of person-centred health care, that supports individuals to live their daily lives. My portfolio role has allowed me to develop and master the range of skills I need to be able to do my job. All of which has brought me a career long opportunity to meet and work with the most amazing group of people – professionals and patients alike.
WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS TO EXTEND THEIR WiseGP SKILLS AND ROLES?
There are so many different ways and opportunities to develop your WiseGP, and what works for some will not be right for others. But my 3 tips would be:
Listen to your curious voice. As a clinician, you are trained to be curious about disease. Make time and space to be curious about other things too.
Be creative. We know so much… But the gaps in what we know are even greater. Explore the gaps and share what you discover with others.
Work with others: curiosity and creativity are both fun, but can also be exhausting. As is living and dealing with uncertainty. Working with others helps fuel the curiosity, stimulate the creativity and keep you sane in the process.