An update from the Head of the Practice Experience Program
Welcome to the fourth GP Synergy PEP newsletter!
In this newsletter, we reflect on our achievements and the challenges of 2020, and we share with you our plans for 2021, the third year of the program.
What we find rewarding and encouraging is that PEP continues to thrive despite some limitations it faces, from its lean resources to those resulted from COVID-19. And if we must choose one achievement worth celebrating the most, it would be, our resilience.
Currently we support around 150 participants. In the last six months alone, we have 83 new participants joining the PEP with GP Synergy, five of whom are in the specialist stream. We have noticed a further increase in participants’ engagement and commitment to the program with only one withdrawal last year.
In 2020, our participants demonstrated agility and enthusiasm to accommodate the necessary changes in the delivery of the program due to the pandemic. One of the major changes has been the delivery of the direct observations online using videoconferencing to ensure safety of participants, patients, and assessors.
GP Synergy delivered more than 100 direct observations on Zoom in 2020 for PEP alone and are proud of the quality of the education that was achieved. On reflection, those changes have created opportunities for PEP to thrive. We have enjoyed developing the experience and skills of conducting remote assessments.
Whilst it has been unfortunate to have fewer opportunities to meet our participants in person, the online platform has enabled a more discrete presence in the consult room. This has ensured that patients are not distracted, the participants performed more at ease, and therefore more authentic assessments were completed. Also, the online direct observations enabled us to reach those participants in remote areas, providing them with excellent variety of assessors. Distance became no barrier anymore which is fantastic.
Due to the success of the online platform to assess our participants, the GP Synergy PEP team moved all the case-based discussions to be conducted over Zoom as well. This has helped to strengthen our relationship with the participants and therefore enhanced the mentoring and educational support we could provide.
Moreover, last year we managed to conduct two clinical reasoning focus workshops on Zoom, as well as a few interactive educational webinars with the PEP participants. Those optional activities were very well received and had high attendance rate.
I'm looking forward to 2021!
Dr Rula Ali | Head of Practice Experience Program NSW & ACT
PEP medical education team
We are very excited to have grown substantially as a team welcoming three new medical educators. Our medical education team is now larger, stronger, and more diverse.
Our administration team has also expanded to provide more operational support to the PEP team and the participants.
Each of our new team members brings rich experience and knowledge and contributes new ideas and energy to the team.
In October 2020, GP Synergy committed to actioning the 'Every Doctor Every Setting Framework' which is a national framework to guide coordinated action on the mental health of doctors and medical students.
In 2021, we would like to implement this framework for GPs in training, including registrars and PEP participants. We are seeking PEP participant participation in a working group to develop GP Synergy’s action plan. If this is something that might interest you, please take a look at the expression of interest information available here.
More information about the framework can be found here https://lifeinmind.org.au/every-doctor-every-setting.
PEP - the future
In response to feedback from the Regional Training Organisations (including GP Synergy) and participants, the RACGP have instituted some major changes in PEP going forward.
One major change is the move towards more Work-Based Assessments (WBAs). The PEP team are excited by this improvement allowing more interactions with our participants and more opportunities for one-to-one feedback. The PEP team has some innovative ideas to deliver the additional requirements while keeping our focus on conducting high quality and diverse educational assessments. This focus assists our participants to have a rich learning experience and to be more competent future GPs.
Additionally, the GP Synergy PEP team is hoping to run topic-based optional study groups which will help to grow relationships and facilitate learning in a different forum. This will also enable participants who are in remote areas or feel isolated to connect with fellow GPs in training.
PEP participant feedback
We are always keen to hear the voice of our participants and allow this to help shape the future of the program. The PEP anonymous evaluation survey in September 2020 demonstrated high levels of satisfaction from the participants. 83% of participants responded to the survey. Of these, 88% described their experience of receiving mentoring as very useful or useful, 97% found the case-based discussion meeting very useful or useful, and 89% found the direct observation visit very useful or useful.
We also ran an anonymous survey to evaluate the optional educational activities designed and delivered by the GP Synergy PEP team. 80% of the workshop’s attendees completing the evaluation survey. Of these, 90% rated the educational activities as useful in meeting their learning needs of developing a clear framework for approaching the KFP and in demonstrating clinical reasoning.
Congratulations 2020 PEP Participant of the Year!
As part of the GP Synergy Awards the 2020 PEP Participant of the Year was announced in late 2020. We were excited the Dr Alline Gomes received the award. Due to Covid-19 restrictions Alline received her award from GP Synergy CEO Georgina van de Water at her practice in Tahmoor.
Alline is a medical graduate from Brazil, she graduated in 2012 where she worked as a GP before moving to Australia in 2017. She has been working in regional general practice at Tahmoor since 2019. As a doctor passionate about general practice she is committed to improving access to high quality care for local patients. Alline is passionate about learning and is extremely motivated to become an excellent Australian general practitioner.
Tips for our participants:
Good communication skills form the foundation of general practice and enhance both patient and doctor experiences. There are some resources you might find useful to further develop your own communication skills. We will share those with you along your journey in PEP with GP Synergy.
The website below is one excellent resource which focuses on the words and phrases that GPs can choose when communicating with patients. It is particularly relevant for doctors with English as a second language. https://doctorsspeakup.com/home.
We will practice more good communication techniques during our different WBAs this year with you.