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Was it worth it? My DFSRH relationship - Dr Yusuf Ali Lalloo
Date: 30 May 2018
Author: Dr Yusuf Ali Lalloo
Dr Yusuf Ali Lalloo, GP trainee in South East Scotland shares his experience of completing our FSRH Diploma and the impact it has had on himself and his career.
Having completed my diploma in 2016 I wonder how it has actually influenced my practice, what I gained from the experience and ultimately as a GP trainee was it really worth my time and money?
Sitting in my GP practice, I hear it once again; “..why don’t you focus on something more useful for your future.”. I literally have to crush the chair to stop myself screaming in the middle of the room. Instead, I sit there, pursed lipped and sweat gathering on my brow. Well Dr. let me tell you...
I completed my DFSRH (Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Diploma) while on a sexual health rotation as a foundation doctor. At the time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, every new speciality seemed to excite me and I wanted to know more. The process wasn’t overly arduous, an online test, a preparation course and practical competencies, nothing I hadn’t encountered before and finally I was done. I could add those wonderful post-nominals to the collection I had started in 2010.
Now here I was, new GP trainee, new city. As I went from consultation to consultation I quickly became aware of the number of my encounters that had contraception as a primary focus. Armed with the knowledge from my diploma, I was able to competently discuss alternative methods, troubleshoot complications and in many cases offer some insight that left my patients feeling confident in my expertise. At the extreme ends of age, I often sensed a bit of shock, followed by some initial bashfulness - but as I continued to broach the subject the results were extremely positive with most patients leaving happier, with little resistance or confrontation.
Fuelled by these experiences, I continued to pursue my interest and I completed the Letter of Competence in Subdermal Contraceptive Implants (LoC SDI). Now you can sit around all day or you can get up and do something practical - words I like to live by, and now I was able to bring this ethos to my work life. I was finally shaping my GP experience into what I wanted it to be.
As I moved around practices these skills were always met with joy, although sometimes accompanied by a little confusion as unfortunately there remains an overriding preconception among some of my colleagues that this continues to be a female only area. I was allowed to set aside blocked appointments and could now offer the patients I was seeing follow on care with the same practitioner - trying to keep continuity of care alive here.
For some of you this may never have even been on the radar. However, aside from these extra qualifications this diploma has led me to, most importantly it has allowed me to gain confidence and expertise. Confidence in my own abilities, confidence in discussing sensitive subjects, confidence I was up-to-date - and confidence I was connected to a group of professionals working towards delivering a higher standard of care to millions of patients that use our service every day.
So without a doubt I shall be DFSRH-ing all over again within five years time.
The FSRH Diploma is aimed at doctors and nurses who are already working in general practice, community and integrated sexual health services. Find out more about the Diploma and the range of qualifications and training we offer.