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The flowers are out and the bees are happy – spring is certainly here! Why not take this chance to do a little spring cleaning with your registrars? This can focus on ensuring they’re well equipped for their upcoming exams, but also encompass a review of their overall clinical progress.

Here, Dr Maura Harvey and Dr Erin Waters share their top tips to enhance your teaching sessions.

1. Learning plan review

  • Sit down together and do a strengths and weaknesses assessment – ask them ‘which clinical areas would you be fearful of turning up on the exam if you had to sit it this week?’
  • Review their learning plan with them, considering their strengths and weaknesses
  • Encourage them to proactively seek out learning opportunities to address their weaker clinical areas
  • Use your coaching and motivational skills to help them develop SMART learning goals (ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound)
  • Make specific follow up arrangements to review their progress

2. Invest time in building your education alliance

Scheduling some time with your registrar just for the purpose of getting to know them better is an easy and effective way to build your educational alliance. Seek to find out how they feel they’re going, alongside what they like doing outside of work. You might want to take a break from the practice to go for a coffee or a walk at lunch-time as after all, the biggest gift you can give someone is your time.

3. Examination preparation

There are plenty of things you can do to help your registrar prepare for exams. It might be offering them direct observation or video recorded consultation reviews, or reminding them to consider every patient as if they’re an examination case. If your registrar is sitting examinations this semester, find out if they’ve booked their pre-examination workshop, joined a study group and created a personal study plan.

When providing consultation feedback, utilise a positive critique method by asking the registrar what was good about the consultation, and then acknowledging and expanding on what was done well. Do the same for what they feel could be improved, and extend them by asking how or why it would help.

4. Do a procedures review

Consider whether you can alter your practice procedures to increase registrar responsibilities and expose them to a breadth of patients. For example, is the registrar now able to extend to home and RACF visits? Can reception staff steer particular subsets of patients to your registrar to broaden their experience?

It’s good to remember that practice management and organisational skills are also an important part of GP training. Involve registrars in clinical or billing audits and practice procedures where appropriate.

Happy springtime teaching!