Dr Graham Toohill

Graham was recently recognised by GPSA for over 25 years of service as a GP Supervisor. He has worked at Leongatha Healthcare since 1994 after working in Nepal for 12 years. He is married to Sue and they have 5 children and 4 grandchildren. Graham has special interests in Skin Clinical work and Travel medicine.
Pictured: Dr Graham Toohill with registrar Dr Melissa Lee

GP Supervisor Profile – Dr Graham Toohill

What rewards do you feel you have gained from GP Supervision ?
I really enjoy it and and get a lot of satisfaction seeing registrars getting more confident in their skills and experience. It is incredibly rewarding if they come back to Gippsland and practice here, with several previous registrars still practicing in the clinic today.  

What type of things do you feel you have learnt from GP registrars?
GP registrars all come at different stages of experience. One guy had worked in plastic surgery previously. It was terrific to see him take off a skin lesion on somebodies’ ankle which looked very difficult to close. He did a horizontal mattress suture and I have learnt from that and used this technique ever since and taught it to other Registrars. We also have lunchtime teaching sessions, where registrars prepare a relevant topic to present which they have researched.  I really enjoy these sessions where I always learn something.

What are the challenges of GP supervision?
It’s a challenge to stand back and watch a registrar do things in the practical procedure department, because you never know what they are going to do, and you know you could do it quicker and easier yourself. But you have to give registrars the opportunity to try things and learn in this way. I tell registrars that my door is always open to them and they do come in and interrupt me quite regularly. Patients are very supportive of this and do not mind. One of my current GPs said when he was a registrar, their GP supervisor told them never to interrupt him. I aim be the opposite, with an open-door policy and even though this can be challenging at times, it’s still worth it.

What are the differences working as a GP supervisor in a regional location?
There are much broader education opportunities in regional practices with a local hospital for admitting patients to and continuing to monitor them, rather than sending off to a hospital somewhere else. Registrars get to experience the full range of services in the clinic, including obstetrics, early childhood care and following through the life course up to geriatric and palliative care. All these areas are available to registrars who come here. There is also a terrific ambulance service if patients need to be sent elsewhere. Registrars can learn in all areas of medicine including assisting with caesarean sections, anaesthetics and skin cancer surgery. There are very broad opportunities to learn holistic medical care at all stages of life.

Do you have any anecdotes of a good supervision experience that you would like to share?
I had a registrar here on an ACRRM program who needed to tick off on completing a skin excision with flap repair. About this time I found a growth on my leg and a biopsy revealed it turned out to be a skin cancer. I suggested that this was the perfect opportunity for my female registrar to complete her training in this area. She did the excision and flap on my leg and did a great job. I was very impressed by this registrar and her approach.

How has GPSA Supported you?
GPSA was most helpful to me during supervisors networking weekends. We had some terrific weekends with lectures and workshops and networking. GPSA’s support and input in these weekends was excellent and the main way I have felt directly supported by GPSA.

What would you say to others considering becoming a GP supervisor? Definitely go for it! It’s a wonderful role getting to know someone and gaining trust in them and vice versa. Helping with difficult cases and teaching your knowledge is extremely rewarding and I would recommend being a GP supervisor to anyone who wants to give it a go and have a part in training the next generation of GPs.

Date reviewed: 26 March 2024

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