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RLO Dr Krystyna de Lange outlines the in practice teaching requirement for each stage of training, and eight tips for getting the most out of this time.   

In practice teaching is an important part of registrar training. General practice training is much shorter than other specialty training, and many registrars will only end up working in two or three practices throughout their training. It is therefore extremely important that registrars receive quality in practice teaching to optimise their overall learning experience.

Registrars must be aware of their right to in practice teaching and be empowered to continuously look for ways to improve it. This will ultimately help registrars make the most out of every placement and learn from the experience, skills and knowledge of each of their supervisors.

GPTQ’s requirement for in practice teaching changes based on the registrar’s stage of training:

  • GPT1 = 3 hours per week, with at least 1 hour of planned, face-to-face, uninterrupted teaching time
  • GPT2 = 1.5 hours per week with at least 1 hour of planned, face-to-face, uninterrupted teaching time
  • GPT3 / ES = 1 hour per week.

Here are my eight tips for optimising your learning experience.

  1. Before you start at a practice, make sure you ask your supervisor what the teaching looks like and how much you will receive. It’s often helpful to ask for specific examples of what teaching the current or previous registrars have received. This will help you choose a practice that values registrar teaching.
  2. Make sure your teaching time is stipulated in your contract. This should occur during paid hours, as per the NTCER.
  3. Schedule teaching sessions at a time when it will not be impacted by either you or your supervisor running late or having to leave early. First thing in the morning or immediately after lunch is often best.
  4. Create a learning plan and ensure topics being covered are relevant to what you want to learn. Work on your weak areas first rather than always coming back to areas you feel confident in.
  5. Use real patient cases and scenarios and link this with learning points. You will always remember things better if there is a clinical context.
  6. Think about how you learn, tell your supervisor this and tailor sessions to this. Remember this may change as you progress through your training and especially as you approach exams.
  7. Think outside the box. Sessions do not have to be purely didactic where the supervisor talks and you listen. Consider presenting a topic yourself to force you to read up on it. Think about going through some random patient cases picked out by the supervisor. Have your supervisor sit in on some consults or vice versa or consider some role plays for difficult cases. Ask if you could have a session with a non-supervisor GP at the practice that may have a special interest area. You could even consider sitting in with the practice nurse or local allied health professional. There are so many options.
  8. It’s important that you speak up and tell your supervisor if you feel teaching could be improved. Improvement requires feedback.

If you feel you are not receiving adequate teaching time as per the GPTQ guidelines then please speak to your hub medical educator.