Training in general practice can open the door onto a hugely varied and rewarding career, as occupational psychologist Dr Caroline Elton explains

Back when I was a 6th form student, the whole year was packed off to brief 'interviews' with the local career guidance officer. Afterwards we compared notes, and to our amazement found that over half the year - irrespective of A-level subjects or stated interests - had been recommended to become librarians, no doubt because there was a national shortage of applicants to the profession.

To the best of my knowledge, none of us listened to that advice, not least because there is something soul destroying about a career recommendation based more on job availability than personal suitability.

Given the current headlines about shortages of GPs, you could be forgiven for thinking that a similar process is happening with general practice. During medical school and foundation years, students and trainees are constantly reminded about the trajectory of the future medical work force with its migration of jobs from secondary to primary care. This may be true, but it is not a compelling reason for people to opt to train as a GP. It also significantly undersells the profession, as there are so many intrinsic reasons beyond job availability why general practice can be a wonderful career choice.

'What a piece of work is man'

When I think about what general practice has to offer as a career, that famous quote from Hamlet comes to mind. There is probably no other specialty that offers such rich opportunities for human-to-human encounters, and if people fascinate you, then you should seriously consider training as a GP.