The Ultimate Career Choice: General Practice Specialist


Sarandi Karya Nugraha, Indonesia (Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Irmina Morawska is a 5th year medical student of Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Rising multimorbidity, an ageing population and the increasing specialisation of medical treatment are all driving a need to increase the number of doctors with generalist skills. According to the long-term plan for the Primary Health Care (PHC) transformation, more doctors should be encouraged to train as generalists rather than specialising in a specific area of medicine. It has been repeatedly emphasised in reviews about the future of medical workforce. PHC promotes health and wellness to prevent injuries and illness. What’s more, it’s about creating the conditions that help people to become and stay healthy.

PHC is the best approach to achieve health goals in countries all around the world. On the local grounds, it’s the first point of contact with health care for most people. It is mainly provided by General Practitioners (GPs). Population of medical students is a prominent part of future health care providers. Right from the start, students should be taught to put patients at the centre of their learning and think holistically about humans.

What should future medical workforce take into consideration when it comes to choosing career paths? First and foremost, deciding between generalist and specialist, you need to consider the type of person you are. A generalising-specialist is someone who starts out as a generalist, but also has wide knowledge over a particular area. On the other hand, a specialising-generalist is someone who is specialised in a particular field, but also has a broader understanding of other aspects. Passion is needed for success – if you love learning more about a particular topic – don’t be afraid to become the expert on that subject! Whereas having broader interests and still not knowing what you want from your career – starting out as a generalist can be a good way to find your desired career path – so that PHC is the solution for your doubts!

Why is PHC so crucial nowadays? It has been proven to be a highly effective and efficient way to address the main causes and risks of poor health and well-being today, as well as handling the emerging challenges that threaten health and our well-being tomorrow. Furthermore, the quality of PHC reduces total healthcare costs and improves efficiency by reducing hospital admissions. It also includes the key elements needed to improve health security and prevent health threats like Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

There is sea of possibilities to develop your role in general practice and embrace special interests. From empowering families to optimise their health, through being advocates for policies that promote protection of health and well-being. PHC also comes up to your research expectations – academic career in general practice is widely opened with its wealth of oppurtunities.

In conclusion, as the roles of medical generalists and specialists can vary, it is important to consider carefully which route you want to follow. While it is possible to change your career later on in life, you should weigh doubtlessly the advantages and disadvantages of both routes before you make the final decision.

Abouth the author

Irmina Morawska is a 5th year medical student of Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. Since 3 years active member of IFMSA-Poland – a part of International Federation of Medical Students Associations, currently entrusted with the position of National Officer on Medical Education (NOME). Advocacy and project management supporter particularly interested in cardiology and travelling. Learning about different cultures and languages makes her exhilarated, especially by acquiring the knowledge of newly met customs on everyday basis. Devoted soft skills trainer with motivation, creativity and opened state of mind: „Strive for Greatness. Always. Inspire and Be Inspired”.















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