The search for a one-size GP training guide

3 minute read

It’s been six months since the transition to college-led training and big research projects are in the works.

How do you begin teaching general practice, a discipline that is all-encompassing and yet different everywhere you go?

That’s the question researchers like Dr Samia Toukhsati, director of research and policy at General Practice Supervision Australia, are trying to answer.

It’s a particularly interesting time to be studying the GP registrar learning and teaching environment, given control over training was handed back to the colleges just six months ago.

Many staff from the now-defunct RTOs were rehired by the RACGP or ACRRM to continue their localised work.

Registrars who spoke to The Medical Republic last year voiced concerns over losing the valuable administrative support and pastoral care provided by experienced RTO staff.

As it happens, pastoral care is one of the topics Dr Toukhsati will be presenting on at upcoming medical conferences, including RMA23 and WONCA World in October.

Her research found that while the perception of supervisors and other people who were providing pastoral care was that they were doing a good job, registrars felt that their needs weren’t being met.  

“There was something of a misalignment between … the expectations of the registrars and what the supervisors felt they were providing,” she told TMR.

“We’ll be really exploring that misalignment [in our upcoming presentations] and looking for opportunities where we can bridge those gaps a little bit better.”

GPSA CEO Carla Taylor told TMR the organisation hoped findings from Dr Toukhsati’s research would give it a better idea of where to devote resources.

“There are just so many little gaps, little pieces that might only affect the minute percentile, but that’s where we can step into the breach and hopefully help with some supports,” she said.

“This research is about teasing out where we can help to smooth the ride and make general practice training a more attractive option.”

Dr Toukhsati is also working on a project that aims to develop and validate a tool – a set of guidelines and resources – that will help practices implement a best practice GP clinical learning environment (GPCLE).

She said a framework had been developed and was awaiting transition into practice.

The framework aims to describe what a quality GPCLE looks like, something Ms Taylor said had been a challenge to define because there is no one set of day-to-day duties for a GP.

One eight-hour shift in general practice looks very different in central Melbourne than it does in a small town like Cunnamulla, or even a regional centre like Gympie.

“The thing with general practice, over any other medical specialties, is that there’s no baseline,” she said.

“It can look so different even from Darwin to when you get out really rural, so the framework was supposed to … [define] those essential building blocks.”

While it seems like low-hanging fruit, Ms Taylor said, it has never actually been done before.

“When it becomes measurable, it also becomes promotable,” she said.

At a workshop next month, Dr Toukhsati will hear from a diverse range of GP supervisors and leaders to help narrow down the baseline skills GP trainees need to have.

“There’ll be some things that we can generalise, but we do want the tool itself to be able to accommodate the different places and regions and contexts in which training takes place,” Dr Toukhsati said.

While the project won’t be complete until the early months of 2024, Dr Toukhsati and Ms Taylor said they would be hyping it at every chance.

“By this time next year, I would hope that you will be very familiar with [GPCLE],” Dr Toukhsati said. 

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×