As the first year of the Practice Experience Program (PEP) is coming to an end, it’s time for us to reflect on what we have achieved, learn from our experiences, and celebrate our success.
As a new program, the first term involved building a foundation for program delivery and getting to know our participants and understanding their needs. In the second term, we were in a better position to offer participants more support and maximise their learning opportunities. We maintained an open dialogue with the RACGP to convey our participants’ feedback and refine the delivery process within the available resources.
During the first year of PEP, 89 participants joined GP Synergy over three intakes. As the program expanded, so did our GP Synergy medical education team. We welcomed three new medical educators into the team, each bringing a set of skills essential for supporting the PEP participants. The team is highly driven and committed to making significant contributions to the program. The medical educators provide mentorship to the participants, evaluate their online learning units, perform case-based discussions and direct observation visits, and deliver optional educational activities such as webinars and workshops.
Over the year we have conducted more than 90 direct observation visits to participants’ practices. Direct observation is an integral part of the PEP assessment process. It involves workplace-based visits by experienced GPs and medical educators to observe the participants’ clinical consultations. The visitors provide timely feedback to participants as a form of ‘assessment for learning’ and opportunities for self-reflection.
GP Synergy ran its second simulated session for those participants to whom a direct observation visit was not feasible (deputising services or remoteness). PEP medical educators wrote the simulated cases targeting areas which were identified as challenging topics among the PEP cohort such as mental health, sexual health, motivational interviewing, adolescence health etc. Each case aimed to address the RACGP five domains of general practice. The participants found this session very valuable in their reflective learning journey.
In the second half of 2019, the GP Synergy PEP team delivered extra educational webinars tailored specifically for the needs of the PEP participants. Our focus was on clinical reasoning and its application into daily general practice. We received very positive feedback on those interactive webinars.
The GP Synergy PEP team is passionate about providing extra support to participants and we ran the first optional workshop on 30 November 2019 targeting communication skills and clinical reasoning. The workshop was a good opportunity for networking among participants, and for valuable feedback in a supportive environment. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants on this workshop and they asked for more similar workshops.
We are looking forward to another big PEP year ahead.