Supervisor Liaison Officer update
This month of October might bring to us, supervisors, a few weeks of quick rest time while waiting for the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
Quick rest time, a short chance of self-care time
From a recent webinar: 'Self-care: how to be a sustainable practitioner' delivered by Dr Roger Sexton and Dr Hugh Kearns, the following messages have been meaningful for me:
- 168 hours a week – that is number that everybody has in a week. If we take on extra tasks (a medical report, a meeting) we have to push other self care tasks away. We have only 168 hours in a week!
- Operating manual – if we work under unsustainable pressure, if we can't seem to control our fast pace that is because we allow it to be that way in our operating manual. Rest time is a chance to revise our individual operating manuals.
- Example of a change in our operating manual – at the beginning of the day we can say, 'The agenda can wait. How is everyone?'.
- The same COVID-19 adversity has also affected us and our families, like everybody else.
Available debriefing points for our supervisors
Reaching out early for assistance will make your burden lighter and give you time.
- Practice Liaison and Support Officer (PLSO) team – the PLSO team will channel your queries and concerns to the right person. Each subregion has its own PLSO. The team's strength is in the personal assistance they offer, pertinent to your practice and your subregion.
- Medical Educator with Supervisor Portfolio (MESP) team – the MESP team is available to assist and support supervisors in the tasks and obligations of teaching and training of registrars. They are a very experienced team that can define and help with practical educational issues in a teaching practice. Each subregion has its own MESP/s providing personal assistance relevant to your practice.
- Medical Educator (ME) team – the ME team is available for you to discuss your registrar (e.g. concerns about a registrar's performance). Each registrar has a personally allocated ME. You can find your registrar/s ME in their training portfolio on GPRime. If you have concerns, contacting the ME might clarify your concerns early.
- Supervisor Liaison Officer (SLO) – the SLO team will assist you with all concerns for supervisors (e.g. concerns about employment contracts, calculation of sick days etc.) The team works independently and has the welfare of supervisors as their main purpose. Each subregion has its own SLO. You can contact your SLO via your PLSO.
- GP Supervisors Australia (GPSA) – GPSA represents all GP supervisors of Australia. It provides general advice to supervisors. It works independently from all training organisations and membership is free. They can be contacted via 03 5440 9077 or email@example.com
- Your medical indemnity organisation.
- GP Synergy is reinstating support for supervisors to access counselling services until 31 January 2022. Support is also available from the GP colleges, Doctors' Health Advisory Service and other avenues, contact details are available under practical support on the GP Synergy website.
Hoping for a more relaxed and connecting time, best wishes from the SLO team.
Dr Cecile Dinh | Supervisor Liaison Officer
Transition to college-led training updates
We are committed to keeping our stakeholders up-to-date as we progress through this period of change. To find the latest information, or to communicate a transition related query, visit our website.
GP Synergy Annual Report available
We're proud to release the GP Synergy Annual Report 2020-2021 that highlights achievements we've made in collaboration with supervisors, practices and other stakeholders. This year's report is in a new digital format.
2022.1 term placement key dates
- Wed 13 October 2021: Practice and supervisors advised of practice and supervisor caps.
- Mon 18 October 2021: Registrars will be able to apply to practices within their assigned grouping.
Please don’t hesitate to contact your local Practice Liaison and Support Coordinator if you require any assistance.
'Malachy' by Dr Dominic Frawley AM is a recollection of the life of his late son who had congenital heart disease. The book emphasises patient advocacy, the impacts of disability, and grief management.
Dr Jamal Rifi on Australian Story
GP supervisor, Dr Jamal Rifi, who has been working tirelessly to keep his Southwest Sydney community safe from the COVID-19 Delta variant, was profiled on a recent episode of Australian Story.
Resources for training practices
New: Interview guideline for discussing of employment conditions
- When speaking to a registrar about a potential placement there are some essential working conditions to discuss. Practices can utilise the new Interview guideline for discussing employment conditions, which provides a framework for the discussion around employment conditions.
Updated: Practice Orientation Checklist
- Recently the Practice orientation checklist template has been updated to include telehealth and personal protective equipment (as well as some other inclusions). This resource can used by training practices as part of their practice orientation for a registrar at the start of term.
Both resources can be accessed via GPRime by using Forms, Document and Links by searching for 'orientation'.
Medical Educator Supervisor Portfolio (MESP) update
This year the Medical Educators with Supervisor Portfolio (MESP) have put together two core topics for supervisors continuing professional development: 'Teaching showcase' and 'To err is human'. As I was involved in the development of the first of these topics, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts.
You may have received an invitation last year – we emailed all the supervisors throughout NSW and the ACT, asking for a teaching hint/tip or 'hack' that could be shared with fellow supervisors during the showcase. A number of supervisors responded, and we chose 14 hints/tips that were then videoed over Zoom with the supervisor in question describing or demonstrating their idea.
The topics included, for example:
- Dr Gundi Muller-Grotjan, from the far south coast, provided a practical demonstration of how to make artificial haemorrhoids from sushi rice and then show registrars how to excise thrombosed haemorrhoids.
- Dr Hester Wilson, a Sydney based GP, described the importance of language of stigma and discrimination and how as supervisors we can be role models for our registrars.
- Dr Frances Antonio, previously of Bomaderry and now a GP in Wollongong, described how registrars could get involved in observing and giving feedback to medical students and moreover – how the supervisor could then feedback their feedback to the registrar!
As with all things COVID-19 we planned to either present the topics online or face to face. The topics have been well received all over NSW and the ACT with more than 90% of supervisors telling us that they would change their practice of supervision. Indeed, this is one of my main interests in medical education – learning things that change my practice.
My personal favourite was 'the mystery box' idea shared by Dr Robert Hungerford from Newcastle. He described a tutorial where the registrar goes through the supervisor’s inbox of results with the supervisor. This exposes the registrar to a different cohort of patients (often they are not exposed to patients with complex co-morbidities). This tip assesses the registrar’s clinical reasoning and can be pre-cursor to random case analysis, for example, discussion of what if the 'normal' result was 'abnormal'? This activity also identifies how the registrar deals with potential urgent versus routing results and prioritising follow up (including communication with administrative staff). It also shows the supervisor as a role model for the registrar in terms of their own management of the results, including dealing with uncertainty. Finally, it combines the teaching session with processing the supervisor’s results!
I hope you had a chance to attend or will have a chance to attend the Teaching showcase soon. The updated timetable of the online regional workshops can be found on the GP supervisor calendar.
As a final note, if you have been inspired to share your own supervisor tip/hint or hack, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Later in the year we will be uploading the library of tips to the supervisor toolkit for all to share.
Dr Richard Griffiths | Senior Medical Educator
Shades of grey – ethical dilemmas
Dr Sarah Gani, Director of Supervisor Education, discusses the use of GPSA's flash cards during in-practice teaching sessions, to explore this important area of general practice.
Meet a registrar training in her hometown
Born and bred in Port Macquarie, Dr Kate Coleman moved away for her medical studies and subsequent placements, she’s returned for GP training and is relishing the opportunity to live and work in her hometown.
GP Synergy registrars’ online training in evidence-based medicine and research methods – what effect does it have?
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.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the integration of best available clinical evidence with clinical expertise and patient values to inform clinical decision making. An understanding of epidemiological principles and a facility with the many skills involved in EBM are essential GP attributes – never more so than in the current circumstances of GPs needing to be able to authoritatively rebut COVID-19 misinformation.
In 2016, GP Synergy commissioned a GP-led team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to design and build an online course in EBM. The course was designed to provide a grounding in research methodology, epidemiology and critical evaluation, and how evidence from these sources is incorporated into clinical general practice. That is, the course sought to equip registrars to function as evidence-based practitioners. The course comprised six modules of critical thinking and ethical principles in human research, critical appraisal skills, exploring the evidence on a clinical question including systematic review and meta-analysis, clinical epidemiology, quantitative research methods and qualitative research methods.
The course (with some later iteration and updating from GP Synergy staff) continues to be an important part of our registrars’ education and training.
A research team, including members of the UNSW team which produced the modules content, has completed an evaluation of the course via a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study and a qualitative study involving interviews in the month following course completion and at three-months post-course.
The study found that registrars were generally positive towards the course and towards the concept of EBM itself and its relevance to their practice. The registrars assessed the course as having strongly increased their understanding of EBM. Though this was a retrospective assessment, the effect size was very large – registrars felt the course had markedly increased their understanding of EBM.
They stated that the course improved their confidence, knowledge, and skills and consequently influenced their practice.
Registrars identified factors that influenced the impact of the course on themselves and their clinical practice: some were work-place related such as time, the influence of supervisors, and access to resources. This suggests that, though the course provides registrars with the skills to practice EBM, optimizing supervision and the practice environment can influence registrars’ adoption of EBM in their everyday practice.
Rahimi-Aradbili H, Spooner C, Harris M, Magin P, Tam CWM, Liaw T, Zwar N. Online training in evidence-based medicine and research methods for GP Registrars: a mixed-methods evaluation of engagement and impact. 2021. BMC Medical Education. 21:492. doi:10.1186/s12909-021-02916-0
If you have any questions about the analyses or the study, please contact Parker Magin.
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.