‘We are privileged to do this job’ – one of our GPs shares her story

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Dr Eleanor Oseya

Walking alongside a patient on their journey is the ultimate privilege, says one of our GPs who admits that some of the people she has treated have had a lasting impact on her.

Dr Eleanor Oseya’s career could have taken a very different path, after she spent time in Thailand working in an orphanage. She had planned to return there to work, but after meeting her husband, her plans changed.

She decided if she was going to work as a GP, she wanted to do it for a group of people she felt passionate about.

During her GP training, Dr Oseya used some of her study leave to spend time with us to “find out how healthcare can be done differently”. 

Later, she undertook a fellowship position, focussing on quality and improvement – skills she brought to her role when she joined our organisation in 2020. Soon after, Dr Oseya joined the management team and she now divides her time between seeing patients and her role as GP Lead/Safeguarding Lead on the management team.

Dr Oseya says the plight of her patients can often have a significant impact on her, bringing tears to her eyes. One patient in particular has stayed with her.

“It was a pregnant lady who’d had a horrible journey to the UK,” Dr Oseya explains. “She’d turned up in the UK alone, broken and pregnant. I spent time talking to her and building a relationship. She needed a lot of support, but her priority was her baby. This lady didn’t choose to be pregnant, she hadn’t chosen any of it but she was able to see the baby as a blessing in a horrible situation.”

Dr Oseya, alongside the rest of the team, supported the patient throughout her pregnancy and in the weeks and months afterwards, at which point, the new mum felt able to let staff  support her in the areas that they had identified. 

Dr Oseya said: “Now we get to see her as a mum, managing motherhood and processing her past trauma.

“Her story had a lasting impact on me. The fact that she tried to see a positive in a horrible situation, and then to address what she’d been through to be the mum she deserved, and wanted, to be. 

“That’s the privilege – being allowed to walk alongside someone on their journey. Everyone this lady had trusted had abused that trust. She didn’t owe us anything; she needed our help. Every day there are patients and families like that.”

Dr Oseya describes the team here as “phenomenal’, saying: “You’re never on your own and we work together as clinicians to get the best possible outcomes.

“It’s a real privilege to work as a GP here. In this role, we meet people when their lives are falling apart, when they’re broken and lost. All of our patients have been through a lot. It’s a challenge to get them to trust us, but once they do, they open up and you can help them. When they let us in, that’s massive.

“You have to give people time and be patient, and not take things too personally. You also have to accept that people will make different choices, but their opinions and choices are valid.”

Seeing patients while helping to shape the direction of the practice through her managerial role provides the perfect mix, Dr Oseya says.  

She explained: “In my managerial role, I am keen to show the world how fantastic the team is and the results they get against the odds. It’s about finding ways to highlight what I know they do every day.”

One example was the drive to increase the number of women having smear tests, a project Dr Oseya worked closely with Practice Nurse Tracey Watts on.

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