Director of Education and Training update
It’s hard to believe it’s the end of the 2020.1 term already and so much has changed since my training update in February welcoming you all to the term. If I think about how much has happened and how much has been achieved in general practice and general practice training in the past five months, its just staggering and absolutely extraordinary.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way we have been doing things at GP Synergy. The entire team transitioned to working from home in early March and continue to do so as I write this, although we do plan to slowly transition back to the office in the following month or two.
As you are aware, all face-to-face supervisor education has been postponed or changed to webinar format until the end of September 2020 and there is no face-to-face CPD requirement for 2020. We are pleased to offer a webinar series that is flexible enough to meet your needs in this rapidly changing landscape and these have been very well evaluated. I have read in many evaluations that supervisors are getting “webinar fatigue” and we are also missing seeing you and delivering face-to-face education. We are continually reviewing the situation and will return to face-to-face education as soon as practicable.
Another advancement is the move from face-to-face CTVs to remote CTVs, made possible by technological advancements and changes to platforms during COVID-19. We have conducted more than 300 remote CTVs across NSW and ACT which is a fantastic achievement. While there has been mixed feedback about these (including concerns about security and educational value), overall most CT visitors are pleasantly surprised at the quality of the visit they are able to achieve. Many find that being a “hidden observer” means they really are a fly on the wall and find both the registrar and patient forget they are there and are more natural in their behaviour. I would like to reassure supervisors that we take utmost care in ensuring that security of the visit is paramount. I would also like to reassure you that CT visits will not change indefinitely to be remote visits only. We have, however, seen that remote CTVs can add value to the suite of options available in the future. We are conducting a study on all types of CTVs at the moment and we will be able to rigorously evaluate the remote CTV as part of this.
The 2020.2 term is nearly upon us. Many of you will have new registrars in the practice next term and others will have registrars continuing. Either way, assessing your registrar at the beginning of the term is extremely important to understand what their level of competence is. Sitting in on a couple of consultations at the beginning of the term is an excellent way to do this. All registrars in their core training terms will need an Initial Observation Assessment (IOS) between week 1 and 4 of next term. In 2020.2 we have an electronic version of the form now available on GPRime. This form is accessed in the same way you access your competency assessments. You will be sent information on how to access and complete the IOS by email or take a look on GPRime.
Many thanks for your commitment to GP training and for working with us through this unprecedented time.
Vanessa Moran | Director of Education and Training
We have been circulating information concerning the impact of COVID-19 on the training program. This includes FAQs and changes to our face-to-face education program.
2020 Rural video competition
Entries for the 2020 GP Synergy rural GP video competition will open in August. If you've got an idea for a video that will help inspire the next generation of doctors to become rural GPs in NSW, start shooting now!
What’s new in the supervisor education program?
The Medical Educator with Supervisor Portfolio (MESP) team is focused on pursuing innovative and creative approaches to supervisor education and support. At the GP Synergy medical education team staff development day on 1 July we had the chance to showcase to the rest of the medical education team some of what the MESP team has developed and presented to supervisors in recent times.
It was a great opportunity to review what we have done before in supervisor workshops – activities such as the development and production of videos for use in supervisor education or the use of drawing to express perceptions of the registrar in difficulty – and gain ideas and inspiration from others in the medical education team about what we might do in future to continue to present an interesting and engaging supervisor education program. Watch this space!
For the moment, all our supervisor education will continue to be delivered in an online format until the end of September. Face-to-face events planned from October onwards are awaiting confirmation and will be reviewed closer to the date. The latest updated supervisor education calendar can be found here. Please note further changes to the calendar of events may be necessary.
At one time or another we all have to manage disruption in our lives, whether as a GP and a supervisor, or in our personal lives. Over the last few months in particular there have been a lot of changes to contend with and adapt to, and in the COVID-19 context this is an ongoing process. In the MESP role this has meant adapting planned face-to-face workshop education sessions for an online format and looking at ways to maintain the connection and collegiality we all gain from catching up at face-to-face educational events.
The MESP team have developed a supervisor webinar, ‘Dealing with Disruption to Supervision’, with the aim of combining educational delivery about this important topic with the chance to chat together online in regional groups about our supervision experiences. We will explore disruption to supervision broadly and discuss strategies that can be helpful during periods of disruption to supervision. The webinar will be held on 15 July at 7.30pm and will involve a panel discussion format followed by small group sessions in breakout rooms on Zoom. Please look out for the invitation coming to your inbox very soon.
Another exciting development relates to our ‘How to support your registrar to prepare for exams’ webinars for supervisors. In conjunction with WAGPET (Western Australian General Practice Education and Training) we are presenting a series of bi-coastal webinars for supervisors during September. GP Synergy and WAGPET will share the delivery of the following three webinars – please note the varying start times for each webinar to accommodate the time difference between the east and west coast.
Webinar Date Time Details RACGP training - how to support your registrar
to prepare for exams
8 Sept 8.00pm – 9.30pm GP Synergy will host WAGPET supervisors How to support your registrars to prepare for the
RACGP Remote Clinical Exam (RCE)
22 Sept 8.00pm – 9.30pm WAGPET will host GP Synergy supervisors
NB No stipend is applicable for this event
ACRRM training - how to support your registrar
to prepare for ACRRM assessments and exams
23 Sept 7.30pm – 9.00pm GP Synergy will host WAGPET supervisors
I am really looking forward to when we can safely resume face-to-face workshops and come together in each region. Until then I hope to ‘see’ you soon on Zoom.
Dr Sarah Gani | Medical Educator Supervisor Portfolio Nepean, Western and Northern Sydney
Rural generalist applications
Do you know someone interested in pursuing a career as a rural GP who provides primary care in a community setting as well as advanced services and/or procedural skills within a rural hospital? Applications for the NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program (RGTP) open 23 July.
Registrar feedback survey results
During the 2020.2 enrolment process, 94% of registrars completed the feedback survey on key training areas – this is what registrars told us.
Congratulations to Dr Lillian Zhang who has been awarded the RACGP Tony Buhagiar Memorial Medal for the GP candidate in the NSW & ACT Faculty who passed all three examinations on their first attempt within the last three years and achieved the highest OSCE score.
Does our education program work? Can we tell if our teaching makes a difference?
Evidence from the GP Synergy NSW & ACT Research and Evaluation Unit – each month we present findings from our work that may be of interest to registrars and their supervisors.
In our vocational specialist GP training program, education and teaching have multiple aims. We aim to influence registrars’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, professionalism, and their clinical practice (and, ultimately, patient well-being). Researching directly whether we affect patient well-being is exceedingly difficult. But we can evaluate and research outcomes of our education at these other levels.
Of these, establishing effects on actual clinical practice is the most challenging (and often the most important). Educational activities are often ‘complex interventions’. And clinical practice is complex and highly contextual. We have, however, attempted to assess the impact on clinical practice of a number of educational innovations in general practice vocational training.
An example is a program of work around rational prescribing of antibiotics for non-pneumonia respiratory tract infections - identified by the WHO as a major global health threat. Our initial work had identified a problem. From ReCEnT data we saw that registrars seemed to prescribe antibiotics somewhat less than established GPs, but still well in excess of international benchmarks. Qualitative work we did with a North Coast academic registrar gave us a great deal of insight into the context of this prescribing. Together with further examination of the ReCEnT data, review of the international literature in the area, and infectious disease content-expert input, we constructed an educational package including an online module, presentations to registrars and supervisors, and a structured outline for a one-on-one registrar-supervisor teaching session. We delivered this package in 2014 and 2015.
We evaluated this educational package with three modalities. We measured before-and-after questionnaire responses (in a study design without controls) to clinical ‘vignettes’ (i.e. ‘intended practice’, or knowledge and attitudes); we made comparisons including pre- and post-education ReCEnT data, and whether the registrars’ Regional Training Provider delivered the education or not (i.e. ‘actual clinical practice’); and conducted a post-education qualitative study of registrars and supervisors.
For ‘intended’ vignette-based prescribing we found statistically significant absolute reductions of 12-24% in registrars intended antibiotic prescribing for the sore throat, otitis media, and two of three acute bronchitis vignettes . For ‘actual prescribing’, there was a significant 16% absolute reduction in antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis . This reduction compares favourably with results from other educational interventions for antibiotic prescribing internationally. An important finding of the qualitative study was of an absence of registrar-supervisor conflicts concerning antibiotic prescribing, but most participants identified conflicts within the GP practice or with specialists .
Our conclusion was that RTPs’ (now RTOs) education can positively influence registrars’ clinical practice. We also feel that there is suggestive evidence that actively involving supervisors in this education is valuable. It also seems likely that, for many clinical behaviours, involvement of the whole teaching practice in the education is desirable.
- Magin P, Morgan S, Tapley A, Davis J, McArthur L, Henderson K, Mulquiney K, Dallas A, Davey A, Scott J, van Driel M. Reducing general practice trainees’ antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections: an evaluation of a combined face-to-face workshop and on-line educational intervention. 2016. Education for Primary Care. 27(2):98-105
- Magin P, Tapley A, Morgan S, Davis J, McElduff P, Yardley L, Henderson K, Dallas A, McArthur L, Mulquiney K, Davey A, Little P, Spike N, van Driel M. Reducing early-career general practitioners' antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections: a pragmatic prospective non-randomised controlled trial. 2018. Family Practice. 35(1); 53-60.
- Deckx L, Anthierens S, Magin P, Morgan S, McArthur L, Yardley L, Dallas A, Mulquiney K, Little P, van Driel M. Focus on early-career GPs: qualitative evaluation of a multi-faceted educational intervention to improve antibiotic prescribing. 2018. Family Practice 35(1); 99-104.
If you would like further information, please contact Parker Magin.
My Health Record Study
You are invited to participate in an interactive educational series that will be conducted by Medcast and evaluated by the University of Wollongong on behalf of the funding body, the Australian Digital Health Agency. The sessions are designed to support best-practice prescribing, pathology and diagnostic imaging ordering utilising My Health Record.
GP Synergy PD calendar
Make sure you don't miss an event or webinar by accessing the supervisor professional development calendar on our website.
External activity noticeboard
Explore a list of activities and online modules. This includes modules on children's health, dermatology, mental health, prescribing and more!
Need some help?
Find key GP Synergy contacts including Practice Liaison and Support Officers, Supervisor Liaison Officers and Medical Educators with a Supervisor Portfolio.