Friends in Medicine ~ Dr Olamide Savage (MRCGP)

By berrysmotivation - July 02, 2019

Dr Olamide Savage is a GP working in Chelmsford. With an interest in empowering parents and carers to keep themselves and their families healthy, she created LITTLE STEPS, an avenue to deliver interactive health education sessions.

I reached out to Dr Olamide to share a bit of her experience as a GP and a working mum. She said:
I got accepted into Bristol medical school at the age of 18 and that was when the journey really began. I found medical school really exciting even though I thought it would be boring and overwhelming. I decided to move to Cardiff for my junior doctor years, because I visited the city a few times and fell in love. Being a junior doctor has certainly been the steepest learning curve through my ever- changing medical journey to date. There were many of those good days where you were organised enough to write all the blood test results in patients notes, or you got high praise from the consultant or registrar for not fainting while obtaining blood samples. There were fewer bad days, but the bad days did come, where you felt like you were alone, and you’d rather hide in the canteen than trust your clinical instincts. Thankfully, I did complete those 2 years without too many tears, drama or fainting, and what I learnt was that I wanted to be the sort of doctor that got to know my patients’ stories and help them achieve a level of health that meant they could enjoy the things they love in life. So, I decided to apply for General Practice specialist training in order to be a General Practioner (GP).

How does one get into GP training?
Currently the application for training is via a national process:
Stage 1; In order to apply you have to fulfill the eligibility criteria.
Stage 2; Involves passing an exam called Multi Specialty Recruitment Assessment. This is a computer-based exam comprising both clinical and professional dilemma multiple choice questions. 
Stage 3; Involves 3 simulated consultations (1 with a simulated patient, 1 with a relative or carer and 1 with a colleague) and a written prioritisation exercise (essay style question). I actually found this process further reaffirmed my interest in the specialty, because I had to read a wide breadth of information and combine it with good consultation skills in order to pass. I felt this suited my personality and interests quite well.

What is the training process like?
I moved to the East of England region, for my clinical training, which was a 3-year process, involving the trainee gaining experience in a wide variety of different specialties. I worked in geriatrics, general practice, Accident & Emergency, ENT, and paediatrics over the course of the 3 years. I enjoyed each specialty but not enough to want to defect from GP training (although I almost swayed by paediatrics). At the end of it all, to get that all important MRCGP (Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners) you then have to pass 2 exams, one is a computer based multiple choice examination on a wide range of clinical knowledge. The other is a number of simulated clinical consultations testing your 10-minute consultation skills. If you’re clever, you’d have noticed that they sandwich you in between 2 very similarly styled types of assessments, at the start and end of your training. I somehow managed to pass my final exams with prayer, panic to motivate me to study and, with a lot (and I mean a lot) of practice.

What do you enjoy most as a doctor?
The discount you get at Nando’s, lol. That’s a joke! For me, I feel honored and privileged to be in a position, where people put their trust in me on a daily basis, to help improve their current health related circumstances. The absolute best part about being a doctor is when I am successful at improving the patients’ health and quality of life.

Describe a typical work day
8.15am arrive at work. Straight in to doing paper work/administrative tasks.
When a GP says paper work and admin, they mean a very wide VARIETY of things, such as:
• Looking through blood test results, various investigations, letters and documents from other health care professionals/agencies and taking the appropriate action depending on the result.
• Sorting out patient’s prescription requests
• Completing various forms required by patients or insurance companies.
• Sending referrals to the appropriate clinician/department for patients that I have seen.
8.50am start seeing patients.
I usually see 18 patients. Each patient should be a 10-minute consultation (where I take a history, examine if necessary and formulate a management plan).
Let’s bear in mind, that most patients take slightly longer than 10 minutes to see because they often have multiple, sometimes complex problems.
Needless to say, I’ve had to invent polite, respectful ways to tell a patient that we’ve run out of time; they tell me I’m quite good at this.
12pm start telephone consultations. I normally do four to five, 5-minute consultations. After which I go on home visits where I visit patients in their homes. I usually have one, or two visits each day. I return to get more paperwork and admin done while munching a quick lunch.
 3pm start seeing afternoon patients.Usually about sixteen of them, followed by four to five, 5-minute telephone consultations. 
6pm rushing to pick up my daughter (the second job begins, lol)

What inspired you to create Little Steps? 
 I’ve always said to my patients, friends and relatives (basically anyone who will listen), that you need to do what’s good for your body, that’s the key to good health. So that includes looking after you mental and physical health, giving your body what it needs and not necessarily what it wants. Things like rest, spending time with loved ones, staying active, eating a healthy diet but having a sneaky treat once in a while (because we are not machines) and asking for help.
The problem is not many people do this. We get tired or lazy or lack the motivation, don’t have enough support, life gets busy or we actually don’t know where to get trusted, sound health information from.
This is why I created Little Steps ( a health education company with the passion to empower people to help keep themselves and their families healthy. I want to be a source of trusted health information and help create awareness around the topics that matter. Little Steps puts our regular, curated, accurate health information via social media platforms, we deliver interactive talks on various health topics and we have a website as an additional source of information, and a place to further grow our community. Actually, if you haven’t checked see link.

As a working Mum, how do you create work life balance?
Being a mum is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, cliché I know, but couldn’t be truer. One of the reasons for this, is because it has taught me to truly love another person selflessly and whole heartedly. Anything that inspires that emotion must be a fantastic thing. It has also changed some of my perspectives towards health. Firstly, I never really understood the power of asking for help. It can be incredibly stress relieving and good for your mental health to share a burden. I think, especially after developing a level of independence, self-confidence and control in life, having a child that doesn’t come with an instruction leaflet or an on and off switch can sometimes be overwhelming. Parenthood has taught me, that admitting your weaknesses and asking for support is a strength and not a weakness.
Secondly, mental health is key.
A lot of battles we face, are in our minds. I am now a massive mental health advocate, because I have seen 1st hand, how a deterioration in a person’s mental health, can negatively impact every aspect of their life. I experienced baby blues, which I was able to get through with amazing support, but I realized that a lot of people may not be so fortunate. So now I’m on a personal mission to help improve people’s mental health. I’m not sure many people ever feel they have achieved the perfect work life balance. My daughter is one of my top priorities when I wake up every day, so the way I see it, if I can provide for her basic needs, while also creating a safe and happy environment, where she can grow and learn, then I’ve done my job. Achieving this is expensive, lol. Therefore, my husband and I have to work, I’m fortunate enough to have a husband that is in a stable enough position for me to work part time. Therefore, I have more time to spend with her. Working 3 days a week, makes me feel like I have spent enough time at work, helping people get better, without getting burnt out, while also being able to enjoy time with my daughter. It works well for our family. It still feels like everything is a juggling act. It can be tricky to put enough time and motivation into everything you are juggling, all the time. So, at times I feel I should have been more enthusiastic when my daughter sang me a song at 6 am in the morning, or I should have done that last bit of paper work before leaving work, or I should have posted more pictures on my Little steps Instagram page. Then I remember the advice give, which is all around good self-care and doing what your body needs. So if I go to bed earlier maybe I can smile more widely at my daughters songs, or when my husband drops my daughter off at nursery I can catch up on admin, or if I do 10 minutes of dancing, the endorphins from the activity will motivate me to post more on my Instagram page (that last example was a bit far-fetched, lol).

Advice to aspiring trainees wanting to go into GP training/own businesses
1. Take it one step at a time. That’s what inspired my business name, Little Steps.
Make SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timescale) goals.
Write down your main focus so you can remain on course and take it one moment at a time. You will get there.
2. Talk to others, share your thoughts and ideas with like-minded people you trust.
Finding a mentor, who is already successful in their own business can be key, as they inspire, motivate and hold you accountable.
3. Spirituality has helped me a lot. I believe in God and I get a lot of strength and faith from that belief.
4. Ask for help. It’s a strength not a weakness. It is key you identify who to ask for help though. Choose people that can actually be honest with you, elevate, encourage but most importantly, do something to improve the situation.
As long as you are you are doing your best, you’re consistent and you’re respectful and hopefully helping people, you can’t go wrong.


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