Key skills needed to flourish in GP training

By Dr Melanie Smith

Here are some key skills and tasks you need to develop and consider in your first few months of GP training.

Work on your professionalism

Remember, your clinical practice must be complemented by your professionalism in the workplace!

This includes:

  • Punctuality
  • Prompt communication
  • Administrative workload.

Don’t leave everything to the last minutes. Here are the common tasks left late:

  • Practice logs
  • Learning plan
  • Teaching Advisory meetings with your medical educator
  • Online modules/educational activities
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Breaks, fatigue management and leave

Place administrative time-slots during your patient consulting time.

It seems simple, basic advice which we give all our patients, but remember to have your own GP!

Organise your annual leave early. If you intend to take annual leave, it is worth bringing up your initial intentions with your new practice, and even getting it written into your employment agreement. A practice can not unreasonably refuse requests for annual leave, however, there will be busy times in your clinic and times when other staff members are on leave. Asking, or informing your practice early on, can avoid potential conflict.

The NTCER Section 16.2 – Fatigue Management. Be familiar with this. You can also access sick and carer’s leave which also covers personal illness, caring responsibilities, and family emergencies. If you need sick or carer’s leave, use it.

Educational arrangements

You should drive the process yourself and make time for both yourself and your supervisor. Ensure that this time is protected, to achieve this, perhaps consider arranging your education time for the start of a session. Remember: this is paid time!

Clinical relationship building with your GP supervisor

Four key points to remember in building a good clinical relationship with your GP supervisor are:

  1. Facilitate a “Give and take” workplace arrangement
  2. Participate in clinical meetings or audits
  3. Present articles/cases
  4. Provide and receive constructive feedback.

Managing difficult consults

Every GP registrar and GP will encounter a difficult patient. Sometimes, a GP registrar may feel as though they can not confidently give an answer to the patient on the spot. There are ways to manage this through open and honest communication. You can try the following:

Checking guidelines/clinical resources

“Let’s see what the latest evidence suggests.”

“I just want to make sure that you’re getting the latest treatment.”

“Let me just confirm that we are using the right dosage for this medication.”

Utilising your supervisor – don’t be afraid to contact them

“I just want to check with one of the other doctors to see if they would do the same thing.”

“Let me ask another doctor’s opinion.”

“In any child with a rash, I always like to have two pairs of eyes to ensure they receive the best quality care.”

These tips were taken from GPRA’s “How to Thrive in GP training” webinar
with Dr Melanie Smith and Dr Sama Balasubramanian.