GPSA Chair Report – June 2024

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Dr Srishti Dutta
Chair

Date reviewed: 24 May 2024

Please note that while reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation, we frequently update content and links as needed. If you identify any inconsistencies or broken links, please let us know by email.

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Excerise: Body Slang

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Date reviewed: 07 April 2024

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GPSA Chair Report – March 2024

It sure has been a busy month or so – no doubt if you’re looking after a new trainee, you will be feeling this along with me!

I hope it’s a been a good start to the training year for you, and want to remind you that, whenever guidance might be needed, you are not alone. 

At the vocational training level, your College supports include your local SLO and relevant Regional Team member(s); complementing these, regardless if you are involved in placements for medical students, prevocational doctors or vocational registrars, GPSA offers the Community platform as a supervision intranet of sorts, where you can seek help from your peers and brainstorm solutions for emerging problems. 

We also provide advice via email for all things NTCER, registrar onboarding and supervision support, along with regular educational webinars and over 1,000 best practice resources and digital tools.

Supervisors and practice managers in GP training form a vital community of practice, and February was marked by many of our sector partners releasing pre-budget submissions that paid homage to this community: aligning with GPSA’s priorities of recognition, reward and respect for our members.

We actively seek cross-portfolio recognition and reward for training practices and supervisors and commend all stakeholders who have used the platform of their own pre-budget submissions to argue the need for greater support of all parties at the coalface of GP training. This includes the RACGP’s calls for improved funding of GPT1, when significant trainee support is provided by supervisors, as well as training programs like FSP and PEP – which need to be sufficiently funded to allow consistent quality of training and supervision for all GPs in-training across the country.

I firmly believe that the increasing burdens and complexity of healthcare delivery, coupled with the worldwide shortage of medical workforce, make a collaborative focus on developing high quality “medical generalism” the only true solution for our communities. Strengthening and supporting placement experiences for optimum learning of these generalist skills is essential for a robust, effective future workforce. The breadth of knowledge and skills we command and convey through GP supervision is the bedrock of our health system, such that every training practice is a workshop where the next generation of GPs is crafted with a commitment to quality.

With the power in the hands of our members when it comes to the delivery of high quality placements, for the last 10 months GPSA’s research team has been tackling the gargantuan task of developing a tool to support benchmarking and quality improvement in GP training. Based on the best practice framework known as the General Practice Clinical Learning Environment (GPCLE), this tool now needs your input. As a supervisor of both medical students and GPs in-training, I am keen to contribute to the refinement of this innovative tool, and I encourage every member, everyone – educators, supervisors and practice team members – involved or aspiring to be involved in GP training across all educational levels, to test and provide your feedback on the GPCLE tool to ensure it serves as a fit-for-purpose resource to maximise the power you have in the future-proofing of primary healthcare.

Until next month… may the force be with you!

Dr Srishti Dutta
Chair

Date reviewed: 28 March 2024

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Dr Sue Harrison, OAM shares insights into Supervision

We congratulate Sue on being recognised in the 2024 Australia Day Honours List for her service to rural medicine.

Dr Sue Harrison, a rural generalist in Echuca and one of ACRRM’s founding fellows, has been a GP and Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) in Echuca and Moama (Victoria/NSW) for the past 40 years. In addition to her experience in clinical work as a GP and GP Anaesthetist, Sue is also senior lecturer for the University of Melbourne RCS and engaged with remote supervision of a RVTS registrar and occasional GP locums.

Sue talked with GPSA about her contribution to supervision, and more.

When did your involvement with supervision begin?

Sue has a made a valuable contribution to the training and supervision of our future workforce. This began over two decades ago in rural general practice. The practice she worked at had a “supervisory team focus” managing learners at different levels. She took on a more active role in supervision when she became a practice owner.

What qualities are needed to be a good supervisor?

“I think that you need to have an interest in education and trained but I think you also need to have an interest in the people under your supervision as people individually. Where are we going? What are your goals? How can we help you to get there? How can we make this available placement for you? Those are the questions that I like to ask.”

“I try to make sure that I have an understanding of what their current curriculum is and what they’re actually trying to get out of the placement. The aim is to optimize the experience for the learner but also optimize the usefulness within the practice of having that person as an engaged learner so that they’re actually contributing to the practice team.”

Why is quality supervision so important for trainees?

“I think it’s important that students or learners feel safe with what they’re doing in the practice. My experience over the last 25 years is that students are probably less experienced and less well ready for practice. As such, by the time they get to General Practice they often haven’t had as much clinical experience as I would have expected someone who was trained 25 years ago to have. So, supervisors have to be quite cognizant that sometimes they need a bit more hand-holding to get to a place where they feel safe in that independent practice environment.”

Can you share a highlight that you’ve had in your role supervising either medical students or other learners?

“An ongoing highlight for me is when I have the opportunity to work with people who I supported during their training, and they remember the time they spent with me positively. Sometimes that had a big influence on their career decision making.”

“I’m especially thrilled to be working with other rural generalist doctors whose training I’ve been involved in and to see them working in, or working as, a rural generalist throughout Australia.”

“Rural doctors make enormous investments into education and supervision which has positive flow on affects to the communities they work in.”

“An aspect of the rural community that I’ve been especially proud of is that some young doctors have taken up the baton of rural medical politics and advocacy. In particular, Dr Megan Belot, immediate past-president of RDA, who I have mentored and have a long-lasting friendship with. Also, my daughter, Dr Emily Harrison, who is now on the Board of RDA and a Council Member with ACRRM. I am so proud that they’ve taken up these voluntary roles and that their passion about rural medicine has resulted in such big commitments.”

What would you like to say to Australia’s supervisors?

 “I have four messages for supervisors and the supervision sector:

– Call for integrated supervisor training

“Firstly, I’d like to call for the organisations who support learning in general practice – so the colleges and those in the prevocational space and medical schools – to recognize that supervision training is important, but that GPs don’t need to do a separate lot of supervision training for each of those organisations. I believe these organisations should work together to provide the training and updating rather than mandate that it’s duplicated for every environment. I strongly believe the organisations concerned should get together an cooperate.”

– Supervisor PD

“In my role as Victorian SLO with ACRRM, I’m advocating that we make it as easy as possible for our supervisors to stay engaged with ongoing professional development in the supervision space.”

– Engage younger colleagues

“The next thing I would say is to engage your younger colleagues with supervision early in the piece, even as a registrar, to start letting them see that that it’s an important part of their role as a doctor. So, looking at opportunities for vertical integration of training within practices.”

– Spend some time getting to know learners and trainees.

“I encourage supervisors to spend time to get an idea of who this learner is and where they’ve come from. Even if each learner’s medical knowledge is the same, there are going to be different things they need assistance with. I need to know who this person is where they come from and what are they hoping to get out with us and for their career progression. What can we do to make this day as useful to you as possible whilst of getting the work done? This approach gives me a level of safety in my current hospital roles. Knowing that this person has just arrived from a city hospital this week and has been doing rotations in great big teams where the work is less hands on, and now I’m asking them to actually step up to be a very active member of my team.”

Date reviewed: 02 February 2024

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GPSA Chair Report – February 2024

Prestige, pay, and recognition

I write this Chair report hoping that you have all had a great holiday period and returned to your workplaces reinvigorated and refreshed. It’s February already, a month of this year already gone – a month that has seen us acknowledge some of the positive trends emerging after a full year of College led training.

For me, this year started with a long-awaited trip to see my family, visit my roots, and reflect on my early exposure to community physicians in the small town where I was born. This certainly set the tone for me to meet with the new GPSA Board to strategise as we did mid-January – with new ideas and energised minds – about what promises to be an exciting year ahead.

The most recent statistics show an increased interest in vocational GP training, notably with rural generalist positions fully subscribed. This has not been achieved without a lot of hard work, and GPSA is honoured to advocate for the supervisors who remain an integral part of growing this workforce through the quality of the experience they provide, irrespective of where they may be located. January has also seen the recognition of several GPSA members on the Australia Day Honours list. I invite you to join me in congratulating:

  • Dr Jeff Robinson, OAM;
  • Dr Christine Longman, OAM;
  • Prof Charlotte Hespe, AM; and
  • Dr Suzanne Harrison, OAM: Co-Chair of the SLO Advisory Council

This year we hope to build on the existing work that our members do in the community as both GPs and supervisors: community consultants and leaders. As we move towards formal recognition of the rural generalist sub-specialty, it is worth considering the role of the supervisor in general practice through the RG lens. Supervisors provide the hands-on guidance, teaching, training and management advice that would be provided by Consultants in the hospital context. It is only through our supervision role that a sustainable future GP/RG workforce can be developed; it is our influence over the learning experience that inspires the GPiT to become a GP/RG, and from there, a future supervisor.

In the GPSA pre-budget submission, we seek the value of supervision to be recognised through a more collaborative mindset both within primary care and across potential funding sources. While various solutions are at play to attract medical students and junior doctors to general practice, the ability to capitalise on these initiatives for the long-term benefit of our communities relies on the continued commitment of both existing and future supervision teams. This commitment in turn relies on respect for the critical role our members play, taking the form of an increase in remuneration and prestige, and greater recognition within our wider GP community as well.

In coming months, prevocational exposure to general practice will significantly increase across urban, outer metro and rural regions, with expanded medical student placements soon to follow. While this has the potential to spark the youngest and brightest minds into action as our future colleagues and the problem solvers of the next generation, the success of this opportunity will be commensurate with the level of support and empowerment provided to the training practices and supervisors responsible for cultivating medical students, prevocational doctors and vocational trainees into the autonomous, patient-centred healthcare professionals our communities need. It all starts with recognition.

And this report ends with recognition too – specifically recognising the amazing contribution of one individual known to and responsible for inspiring so many across this sector and beyond. As the first semester of 2024 kicks off, the life and legacy of Prof Dennis Pashen – Founder and Former President of ACRRM; Former President of RDAA; Rural Generalist; Supervisor; passionate supporter and member of GPSA – will be celebrated in a memorial that befits the life work of a premier advocate for community healthcare. May Prof Pashen long be remembered as a driver of change.

Dr Srishti Dutta
Chair

Date reviewed: 02 February 2024

Please note that while reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation, we frequently update content and links as needed. If you identify any inconsistencies or broken links, please let us know by email.

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GPSA Community – Update Your Profile

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Date reviewed: 17 March 2023

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GPSA Community – Join A Community Group

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Date reviewed: 17 March 2023

Please note that while reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation, we frequently update content and links as needed. If you identify any inconsistencies or broken links, please let us know by email.

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GPSA Community – Ask A Question

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Date reviewed: 17 March 2023

Please note that while reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation, we frequently update content and links as needed. If you identify any inconsistencies or broken links, please let us know by email.

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The GP Supervisory Relationship Measure for Registrars (GP-SRMR)

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Date reviewed: 16 November 2023

Please note that while reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation, we frequently update content and links as needed. If you identify any inconsistencies or broken links, please let us know by email.

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General Practice Supervisory Relationship Measure
(Supervisors)

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Date reviewed: 09 March 2023

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