So you want to expert medical generalist

Tell someone you are training to be a doctor, and the response is often, “what will you specialise in?” Many doctors specialise in the management of specific conditions (e.g. diabetes or cancer) or of organ systems (e.g. cardiology, urology). But growing proportions of patients have problems that don’t fit neatly into these biomedically defined categories. Which is why we also need doctors who specialise in whole person medicine . These are doctors with the distinct skills and expertise of medical generalism [1]. Skills that enable them to safely construct robust, individually-tailored, whole-person explanations of illness experience; and so implement person-centred healthcare designed to enhance health-related capacity for daily living [2]. The NHS Long Term Plan [3] recognises that changes in our population – including growing numbers of older people living with (often multiple) chronic illness - mean we need to expand our capacity for medical generalist practice within modern healthcare – both in hospital and primary care settings. So what is medical generalism? What does the medical generalist do? What skills do they use to practice? And what do you need to know if you are interested in working as a medical generalist? This essay offers an introduction to how you can use your medical training to find out more about this most intellectually stimulating area of medical practice. It forms part of the Undergraduate Curriculum Guidance produced by SAPC and RCGP