If you care about people and their health and wish to make a difference in a personal way, then becoming a general practice doctor may be an option for you.
A general practice doctor (GP) is a highly skilled, primary health care professional who medically treats families and individuals over a long period of time and keeps record of their medical histories which may help with diagnosis and long-term treatments.
You will need to have take the following subjects at high school:
- Pure Mathematics
- Physical Science
- Life Sciences
The following institutions are highly recommended for health sciences:
- University of Cape Town (UCT)
- University of Stellenbosch
- Wits University
The minimum APS for medicine is 35 and a NBT is required for admission to study.
To qualifiy as a general practice doctor (GP), you will need to complete the following training:
MBChB degree – Bachelor of Medicine or Bachelor of Surgery
- Theoretical training
- Student internship
- Community service
This will take between 5 to 7 years in total.
You will need to have the following skills and characterists:
- a strong desire to serve the sick and injured
- a sincere and pleasant personality
- emotionally stable
- ability to be calm in emergencies
- an aptitude for maths and science
- physical stamina to work long and irregular hours
You will usually work in one of the following areas:
- government institutions – training hospitals and universities
- hospitals, clinics, nursing homes
- research laboratories
- self-employed – private practice
Your working hours will depend on where you work. Hospitals require twelve hours or more, while private practice can be normal office hours. Therfore, there is quite a range in this career field. You can, effectively, choose your working hours when deciding on which area you would like to work in.
Once again, your salary will depend on where you work. In general, government positions will pay less than private institutions or self-employment. The average salary for a GP in South Africa is R34 000 per month but it can go up to R60 000 per month or more.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a General Practice Doctor:
- lots of sick people
- long working hours
- having to deal with human suffering and emotional challenges