Planning Your Career in General Practice

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Planning Your Career in General Practice 2017-05-30T11:30:54+00:00
Determining your other personal and professional values can be a little tricky but it is a vital step in planning your career in general practice. For some, values are tantamount in everything that you do, and making this distinction between motivators and not-so-motivators will be easy. For others, this will be a more thoughtful process. You can find lists of values all over the place, ranging from personal life values to corporate values to company-wide and governmental values. In order to work yours out, you’ll need to do a little research. Ask yourself, “What do you truly enjoy doing?” “What do you admire in others?” “What do you despise in others?” This will give you some insight into the direction you need to go in.

For example, let’s say your values end up being the following:

MasteryTo hone your skills and become the best at what you do
Decision makingHaving the ability to choose and determine courses of action for yourself and others
MoralityFeeling that you are contributing to a better community
MoneyBeing paid and rewarded well for what you do
InteractionA wide variety of conversation, contact and people around you

This can help you when you make a choice about where to work. If you like working within a community, being well paid and honing your skills, perhaps working as a rural GP will be best suit you.​

Setting goals is easy. Sticking to them can be harder. Take New Year’s resolutions for example: every year, you make three or four resolutions that you are determined to stick with, but more often than not you end up abandoning at least one of them.

Avoiding this pattern with your goals is important and is easier than it might sound. When planning your goals for a career in general practice a little structure goes a long way. A common process for setting effective, achievable goals is the SMART method. The basic ideas of the SMART method are outlined below:

1. Specific

Set yourself a clear and precise goal. Make sure it isn’t vague or easily misinterpreted. To ensure this, ask yourself the five Ws:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Why do you want to do this?
  • Who will be involved?
  • Where are you going to do this?
  • Which guidelines and boundaries will you set in place?

2. Measurable

Make sure you can clearly measure periodic and overall progress towards your goal. Can you set milestones? Can you measure percentage completion? This will help you continually monitor your progress and stay motivated.

3. Achievable

Making sure you have set an attainable goal is in some ways the most important part of the process. Setting goals that are unachievable is setting yourself up to fail. Think about what you are able to do, what time constraints you have and whether anything else will take priority. Make sure you commit yourself to something challenging but ultimately doable.

4. Relevant

Make your goals matter to you. Once you have an idea of your values, you can set goals that align with them. If you value money and where you live above all else, you might veer away from outreach work, but if you value community and money, you might look at working in a remote area. As long as your values align with your goals, and your goals with your profession, you will be well on your way to success.

5. Time-bound

It is vital to set deadlines. You may have noticed that the majority of people work harder the closer a deadline looms. When setting timelines for your goals, think about the endpoint, but also consider setting checkpoints along the way to make sure you’re on track the whole time.

Talk to people. Use your colleagues, supervisors and students to find out what motivates them and how they achieve their goals. Expanding your perspective will help you understand yourself, your profession and what you can achieve within it.