Regional Head of Education update
It was wonderful to see that Dr Hamish Steiner of Bombala St Surgery, Cooma has been named RDAA’s Rural Doctor of the Year for 2021. He is the first doctor from the Snowy Mountains to receive the award and is recognition for all of the hard work that he has put in over the past 25 years as a GP and VMO at Cooma Hospital. Hamish is also one of GP Synergy’s valued supervisors, and I would like to congratulate him for this award, as his registrars have long been aware that he is worthy of recognition.
It has become increasingly evident that COVID-19 has impacted a number of our registrars’ training, in terms of patient numbers and scope of practice. This includes decreased number of patients, decreased scope of presentations, decreased use of physical examination and development of procedural skills. This has a number of downstream effects, and I would encourage all of you to consider the effect that COVID-19 has had on your registrar’s training. If you feel that their training has been impacted by COVID-19 they may be eligible for a COVID-19 extension of training time, and I would encourage you to speak to your registrar about this and suggest they make contact with their medical educator. This is particularly relevant if you feel that their exam preparation has been impacted by COVID-19.
Our registrars did very well in the recent AKT and KFP exams. Congratulations to those registrars who passed. Our pass rate is well above the national average. Thanks to all the supervisors who put in the hours to teach, do RCAs, play the clinical reasoning game, and do endless case discussions. It has been much appreciated!
At this stage we are planning to have most of our CTVs, and supervisor and registrar education days face to face in 2022. All of the events staff and medical educators are very much looking forward to this, as we have missed seeing supervisors regularly. It is not quite the same on Zoom.
The South Eastern Medical Education Team has grown this year. We have two new medical educators, Dr Megan Kendall and Dr Solange Duveaux. We also have a new Supervisor Liaison Officer (SLO). Dr James Boyd did a wonderful job as SLO for many years, and I wish him well as he and Christina move on to Melbourne. We now have the very talented Dr Nirupam Gupta as our SLO. If you have any questions relating to contracts or industrial matters, Nirupam will be glad to discuss them with you. He can be contacted on Nirupam_Gupta@gpsynergy.com.au.
As we head towards the end of the year, I hope that you all have the opportunity to have a rest or break, and the chance to meet with your loved ones. For those who haven’t been able to see family for some time because of COVID-19, my hope is that you are reunited soon. Have a safe and happy festive season, and we will see you in 2022.
Dr Allison Miller | Regional Head of Education South Eastern NSW
2022.1 term dates
7 February 2022 – 7 August 2022
Wellbeing action report
Can you recommend a good book?
Our GPs in Training Wellbeing Committee is seeking your help – can you recommend a book that you found inspirational, helpful or that started a conversation about burnout, mental health or wellbeing?
2022.1 term placement key dates
Medicare provider number applications
The deadline for registrars to submit an application for Medicare provider numbers (MPNs) for the 2022.1 term is Friday 3 December to avoid MPN processing delays.
Medicare provider number check
If you are training a GP registrar in a GP term in 2022.1, please ensure they check the letter from Medicare advising them of their provider number approval.
Registrars should confirm that they been issued with a provider number with full billing rights before they commence billing patients. Registrars with refer and request rights will only be able to refer patients and request investigations for them, until a provider number with full billing rights is received.
Having a well-earned break over summer?
If you are taking leave don't forget to inform GP Synergy if there are no other supervisors available in the practice to meet the supervision requirements of your registrar. The relevant forms are available on GPRime.
RDAA 2021 Rural Doctor of the Year
Congratulations to GP supervisor Dr Hamish Steiner on being named Rural Doctors Association Australia 2021 Rural Doctor of the Year! Dr Steiner won our 2020 rural video competition showcasing Cooma, a town he has served for nearly 30 years.
Medical Educator Supervisor Portfolio (MESP) update
It is a pleasure to catch up with you again as 2021 draws to a close. I can’t believe we are in November and there are less than 8 weeks to go until Christmas.
What a year it’s been! And what a suite of new skills we have learnt. Who knew for example, that many of us would become experts at setting up vaccination hubs and donning and doffing PPE? I am always amazed at the flexibility and resilience of GPs. We adapt and change when we need to, which I think relates to the inherent nature of our work where each consultation may present a new and different problem requiring diverse approaches and varied management.
GP Supervisors are masters at adapting to change. An example of this is how quickly we have become adept at managing telehealth consultations and providing supervision for our registrars in new and unique circumstances
Of course, some things don’t change! We still need to assess and give feedback to our registrars in a more formal fashion when we do Initial Observation Sessions (IOSs) and Competency Assessments (CAs).
When we do these assessments we give verbal feedback to the registrar at the time of the observation. In addition, we provide written feedback on GPRime. As you are aware, the assessments go to the medical educator of the registrar to be reviewed and signed off before they are then viewed by the registrar themselves.
We know that the registrars really value the feedback provided. The immediate verbal feedback is spontaneous and in the moment. We can comment on something we saw, or an action that was observed. The feedback is descriptive rather than evaluative. We can ask about the registrar’s perceptions and feelings concerning the recent consult and focus on the behaviour.
When we give our written feedback our comments are more reflective. We have had time to think about what we saw and interpret behaviours in a more holistic way. It is still very important to focus on specific behaviours, where change is actionable, but we have had time to consider the overall guidance and resources we might share. Your written feedback is also very helpful for the registrar’s medical educator who is guiding the educational journey of the registrar.
You may have noticed that it is more common these days for a medical educator to contact you to ask for some more information concerning the assessments you have done. These requests are often to gain insight into what areas the registrar can work on for improvement, particularly so in these times of Programmatic Assessment when all formative assessment helps us to understand the educational progress of the registrar.
I would encourage you all to view the Supervisor Snippet recorded by Dr Skye Boughen that is in this newsletter. Skye provides, in three minutes, some wonderful tips on giving practical behaviour-based feedback to your registrars.
I would also recommend a webinar from the GP Supervisor Association titled 'Observing Your Registrar – refine your skill' by Dr Andy Morgan. The webinar provides helpful information that you can use during your direct observations of your registrars.
Many thanks for your ongoing commitment to teaching our next generation of GPs, as we look forward to a less disrupted year ahead. I’m looking forward to seeing you in person in 2022.
Dr Margaret Stellingwerff | Senior Medical Educator and and Medical Educator with Supervisor Portfolio Nepean, Western and Northern Sydney
Registrar feedback – striking the balance
Dr Skye Boughen, Senior Medical Educator and and Medical Educator with Supervisor Portfolio Western NSW, discusses giving practical feedback to your registrars to help them be the best GP they can be.
Meet two of the 2021 RACGP NSW/ACT award winners
Dr Karen Douglas - GP of the Year
Dr Karen Douglas is a GP at Terrigal and Avoca Beach Medical Centres (Hunter, Manning and Central Coast training subregion).
Dr Saif Alkadhi - GP Supervisor of the Year
Dr Saif Alkadhi is a GP supervisor based at Abermain Surgery in Abermain (Hunter, Manning and Central Coast training subregion).
Evaluating supervisor cultural education at GP Synergy
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.
This year GP Synergy’s Evaluation Team has evaluated more than 150 supervisor and registrar educational activities to inform continuous improvement and ensure the highest standards of delivery are maintained.
For example, we’ve worked closely with GP Synergy’s Aboriginal Cultural Education Unit and the Director of Supervisor Education, to evaluate a new series of cultural awareness and educational events which aim to help supervisors engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in a culturally safe manner and, in turn, guide their registrars to do likewise.
The first two sessions were webinars in June and October. The final face-to-face session will be included in the Supervisor Development Day workshop, rescheduled to 19 March 2022 due to COVID-19.
The first webinar, 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural safety – Beginning the cultural journey', was well-received. The evaluation survey response rate was high (98%), and supervisors offered feedback that was informative and constructive as follows.
What did you find most useful?
- 'Learning that often people don’t identify and won’t tell you about being Aboriginal. I didn’t realise it was an issue. How to help people feel more comfortable is important.'
- 'Understanding areas that my care may cause offence.'
- 'I will be more mindful of discussing the topics mentioned more explicitly rather than assuming the registrar is aware i.e. what trauma informed care is etc.'
- 'Historical context using cases, specific language recommendations, discussion of reasons for non-attendance, description of ways to overcome barriers to care, statistics on differences in treatment.”
What could be improved?
- 'Possibly some examples of inappropriate episodes of medical content with illustration of how to avoid offence and engage the Aboriginal person.'
- 'Next step strategies for managing challenges; how do we establish rapport if despite efforts we are unable to get the patient to engage?'
- 'I think this topic needs more time. An hour barely skimmed the surface and I feel the issues are too important and complex to be dealt with so quickly. We know we are not delivering best care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and I for one would like more time for more specific information.'
The evaluation report for the October webinar, 'Teaching registrars about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary care', will be available soon.
We encourage all who receive our evaluation surveys to participate. It’s important we hear from everyone involved in each activity evaluated, to ensure that any changes made to educational activities suit most GP supervisors and registrars.
If you are a supervisor who attended either of these cultural education events, please help us assess the impact of this webinar series by completing our survey (sent to you in early November). Your input is greatly appreciated!
For more information about evaluation contact Dr Linda Klein.
We continue to circulate information concerning the impact of COVID-19 on the training program, including the ongoing COVID-19 situation. This includes FAQs and changes to our face-to-face education program.
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.