(07) 3552 8100

By Dr Bruce Willett

Registrars are a fabulous asset to your general practice. They bring vitality, knowledge and a fresh perspective to your staff and patients. But they can sometimes struggle to adjust to general practice work.

Consider the registrar’s clinical background

Clinical safety standards have increased dramatically within the public hospital system. This means junior doctors receive improved – yet more vigilant – levels of supervision. This is great for patients and hospital outcomes. However, the unintended consequence is some registrars come to our practices without ever having made a clinical decision independently. They are, quite naturally, terrified.

Registrars vary in age, background, knowledge and experience

Many registrars these days are older than in the past. The average age to commence GP training is now just over 30 years. As a result, registrars often experience a great deal more family and financial stress.

Some registrars may come to you with a wealth of experience and seniority in other areas of medicine but still have deficits in knowledge. Even more surprisingly, they may lack clinical reasoning in general practice situations.

Common denominators in registrar problems

There are four key areas when registrars struggle in general practice:

  1. Personal factors – health issues, anxiety, depression or relationship difficulties.
  2. Professional conduct – poor attendance, low work rate, rigidity or insight failure.
  3. The practice environment – the structure does not suit the registrar.
  4. Performance weaknesses – when a registrar has a lack of knowledge, clinical skills or positive attitude.

Identifying these areas of concern requires vigilance and early detection. In the next newsletter we will look at registrars who experience problems and talk about the steps you can take to respond to issues before they become problems, and to problems before they become disasters.

Email Super News with your experiences, tips and best practices in identifying problems early, and how you have resolved them.