Practice Experience Program (PEP) update - GP Synergy

Practice Experience Program (PEP) update

GP Synergy is excited to see PEP progress into its second year.  Last year we had three intakes and we supported nearly 80 participants spread out over our regions. The size of our cohort enabled us to gain a deeper understanding of the diverse participants’ needs and experiences. Establishing educational and operational processes was a key focus to ensure a stable foundation for the program to start and grow.

Our PEP team’s commitment in providing meaningful educational support was demonstrated by the anonymous evaluation survey participants completed end of last year.  Seventy-two percent completed the survey which is considered a great response rate. We are proud to announce that 92% of our participants found their engagements with GP Synergy medical educators useful or very useful. Moreover, 86% of our participants found the workplace-based assessments (WBA) delivered by GP Synergy as useful or very useful.

With success come some challenges. Our participant’s challenges included balancing the program’s substantial online component alongside their clinical demands. This is sometimes exacerbated by working in remote areas and away from family. GP Synergy is mindful of keeping an open dialogue with the RACGP about these matters and opportunities to improve the participants’ experience.  The college has been responsive by adjusting the online learning units. This collaborative partnership between the college and the RTOs allows the program to improve and grow.

This year we have already welcomed two more PEP intakes to GP Synergy. Currently, we are supporting nearly 100 participants, the largest number for one RTO, and we are expecting two more intakes this year. Notably, our cohort of participants are engaged, and keen to improve their clinical skills. This observation was shared by many external assessors who assist our team in conducting WBA.

We conducted the majority of the direct observations face-to-face early this year.  However, in response to COVID-19 and associated social distance requirements, GP Synergy cancelled all the remaining face-to-face assessments. With the approval of the RACGP, we have delivered 42 direct observations virtually.  In recognition that some participants might have incurred some financial loss arising from the cancellation, we have offered to meet the cost of cancelled travel and accommodation arrangements. Additionally, we offered our participants more pastoral care and mentoring support and have delivered a webinar on telehealth skills and managing clinical uncertainty during this time.