Research & Policy

Theme 1: Best Practice





Our best practice research projects tackle contemporary challenges through evidence-based evaluation to drive innovation, quality improvement and excellence in GP training. The translation of research into policy is one of the high impact ways that we drive change to ensure best practice GP training.

Current Project

Reciprocal Vulnerability

The aim of this project is to explore how self-disclosures and concealments about professional and personal matters influence the GP supervisor-registrar relationship. 

The supervisor-registrar relationship is the foundation for successful training in general practice, which is underpinned by mutual trust and respect.  Mutual willingness to disclose areas of professional or personal uncertainty can deepen the supervisor-trainee relationship and foster learning opportunities. 



According to GPSA’s national survey of its members, GP supervisors who feel well-supported in their workplace, avoid working when unwell, and practise self-care have lower levels of burnout and are more likely to remain in GP training for the next 5 years.

GPSA surveyed GP supervisors in March-April 2022 and found that over 70% of GP supervisors had high levels of burnout, which was associated with lower levels of engagement in selfcare activities (including professional support, professional development, life balance, cognitive awareness, and daily balance). Younger GP supervisors were at greater risk of burnout.

Working while unwell and the belief that selfcare/wellbeing could be better supported in the workplace predicted high levels of burnout. In contrast, GP supervisors who intended to supervise for the next 5 years and were engaged in professional development were much less likely to experience burnout.

Read Full Report

Led by GPSA in collaboration with Monash University and the Victorian Rural Generalist Program(VRGP), this rapid study aimed to explore and expand on existing evidence about rural supervision to meet the learning needs of the RG2 group across the VRGP curriculum. It specifically focused on three rural regions of Victoria: Hume, Loddon Mallee, and Barwon South West. The data obtained through surveys and one-on-one interviews with dozens of participants from primary and acute healthcare, and individuals with valuable experience in remote supervision, was used to develop a Supervision Roadmap to guide the implementation of high-quality supervised learning across the core generalist curriculum in regional Victoria.

Rural Generalist Report

Click here to download the extensive report for this project, which has since been cited in several Commonwealth policy documents.

Corresponding publications:

O’Sullivan BG, Martin P, Taylor CJ, Lodding M, Bilardi G, Dix L, Phillips J, Hutchinson M, Van Wollingen R, Wallace G.  Developing supervision capacity for training rural generalist doctors in small towns in VictoriaRural and Remote Health 2022; 22: 7124.

Martin, P., O’Sullivan, B., Taylor, C. et al. Blended supervision models for post-graduate rural generalist medical training in Australia: an interview study. BMC Med Educ 22, 478 (2022).

GPSA has develeoped the GPCLE as a framework to guide continuous quality improvement of the practice learning environment. The GPCLE has been adapted for general practice training environments from the Best Practice Clinical Learning Environment (BPCLE) Framework as part of a research project funded by the Australian Government via the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program.

GPCLE FrameworkClick here to download the framework developed from this research project, and here to see the tools subsequently developed as an example of how GPSA translates research into best practice resources and tools to drive quality.

Corresponding publication:

O’Sullivan B, Hickson H, Kippen R, Cohen D, Cohen P, Wallace G. A Framework to Guide the Implementation of Best Practice Clinical Learning Environments in Community General Practice: Australia. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Feb 4;18(4):1482. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18041482. PMID: 33557408; PMCID: PMC7914810.

When GPSA undertook this study in 2019-20, we interviewed 22 peer-recognised GP Supervisors and identified 7 key areas associated with quality supervision. These included reflecting and learning from other supervisors, structuring learning, caring relationships, involving the whole practice, learner centred approaches, building independence and encouraging reflection.

Click here to download the guide developed from this research project, and here to see the tools subsequently developed as another example of how GPSA translates research into best practice resources and tools to drive quality.

Corresponding publication:

O’Sullivan, B., Hickson, H., Kippen, R. et al. Exploring attributes of high-quality clinical supervision in general practice through interviews with peer-recognised GP supervisorsBMC Med Educ 21, 441 (2021).

Date reviewed: 17 April 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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