10,000 aspiring medics sign up for virtual GP work experience during COVID-19

Over 10,000 aspiring medics have signed up to a virtual GP work experience programme from Royal College of GPs during COVID-19.

Observe GP, built using a learning platform from Koantic, is an alternative to work experience for aspiring medics, providing a free interactive video platform into the role of a GP and the wider primary care team. 

The videos showcase the roles of various team members in general practice including the GP, Practice Manager, Receptionist, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and a GP Trainee.

The platform launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has now received 10,000 registrations within its first three months. The interactive Observe GP video platform is aimed at aspiring medics aged 16+ who wish to learn more about general practice. Initially developed by the RCGP to provide an innovative way for students to shadow the primary care team, the platform has allowed them to insight of what it’s like to work in general practice from their homes while the country has been in lockdown.

Observe GP is part of the College’s ‘Discover General Practice’ programme, which aims to explore the opportunities associated with a career in general practice. The videos were filmed at Attenborough Practice in Bushey, Hertfordshire; Liberty Road Practice in Stratford, East London; and Sawston Medical Centre, Cambridge, before the COVID-19 pandemic began. It shows GPs and members of the wider practice team providing care to patients using real-life scenarios. 

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Many aspiring doctors will have watched with admiration as GPs and colleagues across the NHS have gone above and beyond throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s important we engage with those students to highlight general practice as a viable career option, and Observe GP has been an excellent vehicle for doing so.”

“Ten thousand registrations in four months is incredibly encouraging for the future of our profession, particularly when you consider that UK medical schools receive around 20,000 applicants each school year. This level of engagement reflects that a significant number of aspiring medics are interested in general practice and for good reason – being a GP can be the best job in the world.”

“Observe GP can be used at any time by any one so the limitations of traditional work experience such as schedule clashes and social inequalities are eliminated.” 

“COVID-19 has also presented as a challenge for many students who planned to use their summer holidays to gain relevant work experience but we hope that initiatives, such as GP Observe will prove useful in providing an alternative for bright aspiring medics at a time when we’re all working differently.”