Friends in Medicine ~ Dr Folusha Oluwajana (MRCGP, BSc Sports & Exercise Medicine)

By berrysmotivation - June 19, 2019

Dr Folusha is a portfolio GP in North London. She went to the University of Birmingham Medical
School and also intercalated at Barts and The London School of Medicine School where she graduated with a BSc in Sports and Exercises Medicine. After medical school Dr Folusha moved to London where she did her foundation training and eventually GP training. She has a passion for all things health, nutrition and fitness so she is currently using social media as a means to inspire and educate people in these areas.
In addition to this Dr Folusha has a non-clinical commissioning role. She is the North Central London (NCL) Clinical Lead for GP Recruitment and Retention. This involves evaluating existing recruitment and retention methods and developing and implementing new programmes across the five NCL boroughs (Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet and Enfield).

I reached out to Dr Folusha to share some of her experience with the growing community of young enthusiastic medical professionals who would love to learn from her experience as a GP and also benefit from her profound knowledge and interest in health, fitness & nutrition. It was fun getting to know her a bit more and what it feels like to work as a GP in a busy city like London. Hope this admittedly insightful interview helps you explore the opportunities in General Practice.

What inspired you to become a GP and what steps did you take to get into GP training?

I chose General Practice as I didn’t feel that one single speciality stood out to me significantly (and at the time Sports and Exercise Medicine speciality training was not particularly well developed). So, I thought why not choose a speciality that encompasses everything rather than choosing one. Also the opportunities for portfolio work and variety made general practice even more appealing. I didn’t have a GP placement during my foundation training, so it was a bit of a risk, but I do not regret it one bit! Applying for GP training required a lot a studying, practice MCQs, situational judgement and brushing up on interview skills, in order to successfully pass the assessments. It was quite tricky to fit around full time work but it was easier than finals!

What do you like best about being a doctor?

I feel genuinely privileged to be a GP and to have such a direct impact on so many lives every day. I love working in teams and have learnt to value and depend on the expertise of others. Team work makes the dream work! I work in a large practice and we have a variety of different professionals who visit for regular MDT meetings. I also love the autonomy I have on my working life as GP, I have been able to create an interesting timetable and also maintain a good work-life balance.

What is a typical work day like for you in a GP Surgery?

A typical day starts with morning surgery which begins at 09:00am. I see about 15 patients, occasionally some extras and usually do a couple of telephone consultations. After morning surgery, I do my admin work, prescriptions, review pathology results and go on home visits if needed. I also attend the practice or MDT meetings and squeeze in some lunch. As an advocate for health and fitness I often try to take a short walk at lunch time or walk to and from my home visits; every step counts! Afternoon surgery starts again at 3:30pm and eventually I leave the surgery around 7:00pm. My non-clinical work is very different and provides a pleasant variety to my week. I am based at Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) headquarters but no one day is the same. I am either attending meetings all over the city with different stakeholders, such as the Royal College of General Practioners, other CCGs, GP Federations and Health Education England to name a few, or I am visiting local GP practices across North London. I have been doing this role for about 9 months now; I am thoroughly enjoying it and have learnt so much in a short space of time.

Do you think there is a type of person that is best suited to becoming a GP?

I don’t think there is a particular type of person suited to being a GP. I have met a variety of different personalities who have all been great GPs in their own way.

What is the most interesting part of your job as a GP and a fitness enthusiast?

The most interesting part of my job as a GP and fitness enthusiast is probably the most difficult part…TIME! The standard NHS 10 minute appointment is not sufficient to really understand, discuss and change a patient’s lifestyle, and as someone with a special interest in this I find it even more difficult, but I rise to the challenge. Also, finishing the day at 7pm or sometimes later, it is often to
struggle to motivate myself to go to the gym and eat healthily. But if expect my patients to do it, why can’t I? Now I find I do it out of habit.

What is the most common misconception about being a GP.

The most common misconception about being a GP is that it’s easy. It really isn’t. I spent over 4 years working in hospital before moving into General Practice. The first time I cried at work was during my first salaried GP job! Top Tip: Find a supportive practice, especially in the early years as it can be very overwhelming.

How do you create a work:life balance? (e.g hobbies)

As I mentioned before, one of the benefits of the general practice compared to other specialities is that you are often able to have more control over your working pattern. So if you have other professional or personal interests outside of work it can be easier to incorporate them. For example, I do occasional evening or weekend sessions but I get to choose when I do them. It is important to prioritise and plan personal time and activities as you would professional activities, otherwise work can take over unexpectedly.

What do you hope to achieve as a fitness enthusiast and how do you incorporate that into your work schedule?

I would love to spend more time developing fitness as a profession, this will likely mean doing further qualifications, which I am looking into. I would also consider reducing my current GP workload in order to accommodate fitness more seriously but I wouldn’t give up completely! Currently I do my own learning and training in my spare time after work and at the weekends. It can be tough and I have to be quite organised to make it work, but is something I am passionate about so finding time comes easily.

Any advice or tips for aspiring trainees who will like to become GPs

Tips for aspiring GPs; I would definitely tell a younger me to maintain my portfolio throughout training (and beyond); don’t leave it all to the last minute. It is so much easier to record evidence as you go along than doing it in a panic and racking your memory for examples at the end of the year!


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