Andrew Macfarlane, a third-year ScotGEM Medical Student, has been announced as the winner of the Society for Academic Primary Care Medical Student essay contest. This year’s subject asked the entries to write about “a consultation in primary care that changed my practice”, 63 essays were submitted.
Andrew’s essay reflected on his time completing a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) based in a rural community in the North of Scotland. In the essay, Andrew wrote about a woman in her 60s who attended the clinic with her husband complaining of severe lower back pain only to be diagnosed with cancer and succumb to her illness days later. The essay focused on the journey of grief experienced by the woman’s husband who came back to the clinic two weeks later to try and understand what happened to his late wife. Andrew was able to sit in on this meeting and witnessed first-hand how the GP listened to the grieving husband and was able to answer his questions with care and empathy. For Andrew, this was the first time he witnessed the full circle of grief that GP and clinicians have to deal with when dealing with difficult and unfortunate cases.
Andrew spoke about classes in undergrad that focused on “breaking bad news to patients” but also realised the gap that existed in how to manage grief in patients’ loved ones. His essay captured the full spectrum of grief and how important it is for those in the medical field to understand how to manage this.
You can read Andrew’s essay on the SAPC website.