Intending trainers

The aim of this section is to…

  1. Help you decide if you really want to become a GP Trainer. In order to do this in a balanaced way so that you can make an informed choice, we will cover both the pros and cons of becoming a Trainer and a training practice separately.
  2. Highlight what is expected from a you and the practice from the point of view of the Yorkshire-Humber deanery and the Bradford GP Training Scheme.
  3. Provide you with some really useful downloadable start-up resources.

If there is anything else which you have found useful in your journey to becoming a Trainer that you think others would find helpful, please email me here.

 

WHY SHOULD I BECOME A TRAINER? (click to open me)

You’d be right to ask why we do it especially as it is not very well paid. We asked some of our trainers this question in a recent workshop and here are some reasons they gave:

  1. Approval as a training practice is one indication of high standards of record keeping, organisation, premises and patient care.
  2. Becoming a training practice is an opportunity to re-examine practice infrastructure and organisation
  3. Contact with young doctors is stimulating and keeps everyone more in touch with developments in general practice.
  4. Educational activity is a good balance to clinical activity, for both the trainer and the practice.
  5. It helps develop your educational skills and helps keeps you and the practice clinically up to date.
  6. Being a training practice is very valuable for GP recruitment, either directly if an ex-GP trainee comes to work at the practice, or indirectly because the practice is known via the GP training scheme, or even because potential recruits from outside the area are attracted by a practice’s training status.
  7. You get a free pair of hands (sometimes questionable) and some training money in return.
  8. You get the pleasure of seeing young people develop and their overt appreciation for your help.  This pleasurable feeling is immeasurable.
  9. You develop links with other trainers and thus gain peer support.   Furthermore, you never become stagnant as ideas are cross-fertilised from group activities like the Trainers’ Workshop and Time Out days.
  10. It helps you contribute to the future of general practice and contribution makes one feel good.

Can you identify with any of these?

THAT'S ALL VERY NICE AND ROSY, BUT THERE MUST BE SOME BAD BITS TO TRAINING TOO?

Okay, to be fair we said we’d cover both sides of the coin. Here are some of the downsides to training:

  • Sometimes their can be a lack of commitment of the younger generation and this can be demotivating.
  • Because the trainee changes every 6-12 months, there can be a disruption to the continuity of patient care and the trainer often has to pick up what’s left behind!
  • If you get a poor trainee, that in itself can be demotivating – but recruitment is much more strict and more geared towards selecting those likely to be high performers.
  • Some trainers are so busy with other things that they find it difficult to find time for VTS activities like getting to Trainers’ Workshops and Time Outs.   If this is you, then perhaps you need to drop something before taking on GP training.   We need commitment and enthusiasm.
  • GP training doesn’t pay that well – this sometimes means training loses priority within the practice.  You might be able to do other stuff to make better money
  • The educational emphasis of training means the net gain from a GP trainee’s work is less (i.e. have we got the right balance between training and service delivery?)
  • Some trainers find the assessment box ticking stuff demotivating.
  • You’re effectively the trainee’s mentor, friend and assessor and these diferent ‘hats’ sometimes lead to role conflict.
  • A trainer has to be reapproved on certain criteria every 3 years – some people just don’t fancy going through that rigorous stone turning process.

HAVING HEARD BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENT, HOW DO YOU NOW FEEL?

Where do you sit? Remember, you have to make the right decision for your practice AND you. If either one of you is not ‘hooked’ then you’re likely to have a miserable and stressful time. If you are keen (which we hope you are), it’s really important to secure the support of the practice.  Remember that training is a practice activity, not like the old days where it was just the trainer that took complete responsibility. As well as securing their initial interest, one way of doing this is to get the rest of the practice involved in GP training activities – like some tutorials, debriefs, supervision and so on.   In that way, training no longer becomes an overwhelming task through being shared out.  Instead, it becomes an enjoyable activity which injects some life into the training practice.

OKAY, I'M KEEN BUT HOW DO I GAIN THE SUPPORT OF MY PRACTICE?

  • Creating the right ethos towards GP training within the practice is incredibly important.   Are they all hooked up and keen on the idea of GP training as much as you?  Do they all see the positive benefits (as identified above)?  Do most of them want to get involved?  Are they willing to help?   Are there any people who don’t share the same view?   Can you tease out the underlying ideas, concerns and expectations that are grounding them to a negative stance?   Can you work WITH them to move them on?  Most of this will need an initial team meeting, with some individual 1-1 work, and later – more team meetings.
  • Get the Practice Manager as hooked into and passionate about GP training as you.  If there is only one person that can make GP training happen smoothly – it’s the Practice Manager.   And in times of difficult practice review discussions (e.g. training not bringing in enough money compared to other activities), they will come to your rescue!
  • Get others involved in training.    Get some of the other docs to do  debriefs, clinical supervision, tutorials, teaching audit and so on.
  • Train people up.  Often other partners don’t get involved in training because they feel they don’t have the skills to teach.   Can you arrange some basic teaching workshops within the practice?  Does the deanery run any courses on teaching for non-training partners?   Can the Programme Directors help?   Can the practice release some people to attend HDR and help facilitate the teaching day?
  • In your practice meetings, build in a section devoted to ‘GP training update’ and try and get a discussion going around important issues.    Get them to problem-solve and come up with solutions.  This will make the others feel that they are a part of GP training rather than seeing it as your own particular pet interest.
When we refer to ‘others’ in the practice, we’re not just talking about the other GP partners – we’re talking about the salaried docs, the nurses, the admin staff and so on.

WHAT DO I DO NEXT? I'M KEEN AND I'VE GOT THE SUPPORT OF MY PRACTICE

  • Make contact with Clare Connolly – our Programme Director with the lead responsibility for new trainers.  Clare’s email address is: CConnolly@bradford.nhs.uk
  • Make contact with Laura Tattersall  who is the Deanery person who looks after all those intending to become a GP training.  (laura.tattersall@yh.hee.nhs.uk / 01482 660 710)
  • Over the next 4 weeks, browse and keep revisiting our website – www.bradfordvts.co.uk.  You will find loads of information about GP training and it will answer about 99% of your queries.

BEFORE THE THE FINAL TRAINER INTERVIEW, WHAT SHOULD I HAVE DONE? ANY TIPS?

  • Make sure you have attended some of the Trainers’ Workshops run locally by our scheme.    This provides an invaluable opportunity to network with other Trainers, develop links and friends.   They can be invaluable at times when you need support.   Some will guide and mentor you.
  • Get involved with the local Half-Day Release programme.  This will help you develop some teaching skills.
  • Make sure you’ve signed up to the PG Cert programme for Medical Education at Leeds University – contact deanery for information.
  • Try and attend one of the deanery’s centralised Yorkshire Trainers’ Seminars – usually held in Autumn and Summer.   They run a whole range of seminars and workshops which you will find invaluable.   Look here for deanery’s latest course programme for educators.
  • Make sure you and your Practice Manager spend time on the Form B that will be used to approve the post you wish to offer a GP trainee at your practice.  A blank Form B can be found under our ‘Downloadble Forms’ section which you can see on our home page.   The Form B stipulates what it is that you plan to offer the GP trainee.   Pay particular attention to the timetable.  Ensure that there is protected time each day (20-30 minutes) post surgery for debriefing.  Make sure that it is clear who the Clinical Supervisor will be each day.  Have clear plans for what will happen to education and training when you are away on holiday.  When you think it’s finalised, get it checked over by a Training Programme Director.

TRAINERS' WORKSHOPS AND THE TRAINERS' TIME OUT IN BRADFORD

Trainers’ workshops attendance is an integral part of being a trainer.  At at Time Out session held in 2002, the following was decided.  Please try and come along.
  1. There will be monthly lunchtime (12.30-2pm) sessions for business and hot topics such as problems with trainees: held at Field House on the 1st Tuesday of the month.
  2. There will be  THREE half-day sessions for educational development every year.    You can attend all or one of these.  They will focus on something that will help you with your teaching and training – things like educational methods.  They will be held at various menus, sometimes at local practices and at other times in alternative venues.
  3. Once a year, there will be a 2 day residential Time Out in November – held at a Yorkshire venue and occasionally using a professional facilitator.   Everyone loves these two days because it provides space to reflect, mingle with others, and learn lots throughout the two days.   You are strongly encouraged to make time to come – you won’t regret it.

PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING AT HALF-DAY RELEASE

Please consider helping us out at Half-Day Release.  Half-Day Release (HDR) happens every Tuesday (2pm-5pm). Past trainers and intending trainers have found it immensely helpful in terms of developing practical teaching skills. You won’t be left alone: there will be other educators in the same boat as you and the Programme Directors there to support you. The HDR group is usually split into 3-4 groups, each being facilitated by one of the programme directors and co-facilitated by you. If you are an established trainer, it is certainly one way of reigniting that dynamism and enthusiasm for training.  It would be good if you can sign up for 6 months, but don’t worry if you can’t; shorter periods are okay too. Even occasional sessions are fine. We understand you have other commitments.

Benefits of helping at HDR:

  • Something different and enjoyable to do on a Tuesday afternoon.  A change is as good as a rest – maybe you need something like this to stave off burnout, disillusion and grumpiness.
  • Development of educational skills including small group facilitation.
  • Experience of different educational methods which may be useful in the practice and other contexts.
  • Getting to know the trainees, giving you an idea of the spectrum of abilities and attitudes against which to assess your own trainee.
  • Familiarisation with the current training system and the components of MRCGP.
  • Feeling part of the training scheme and having the satisfaction of making a valued contribution.
  • Networking with other trainers/intending trainers (making friends, sharing more ideas together etc.).
  • AND finally, the warm glow of being hugely appreciated by the PDs

Contact Clare Connolly for more information on clare.connolly@bradford.nhs.uk

SOME BRIEF TIPS TO TEACHING

Good & McCaslin (1992) wrote some key principles worth sharing with you.
  • Instructional goals emphasize developing students’ expertise within an application context, understanding of knowledge, and self regulated application of skills
  • The content is organised around a few powerful ideas (basic understandings and principles); trying not to be too exhaustive
  • The teacher’s role is not just to present information but also to scaffold and respond to students’ learning efforts
  • The students’ role is not just to absorb or copy new information but also to actively make sense and construct meaning; getting them involved
  • Activities and assignments feature tasks that call for problem-solving or critical thinking, not just memory or reproduction;
  • Higher order thinking skills are developed in the process of teaching subject matter knowledge with application contexts that call for students to relate knowledge to their lives outside the classroom by thinking critically or creatively about it or by using knowledge to solve problems or make decisions.

DON'T FORGET TO TELL YOUR PRACTICE MANAGER

Don’t forget to tell your practice manager that there is a section on this website sepcifically designed for them. This will help them understand what is meant by GP training, what is involved, highlight some of the rules/regulations and finally provide some useful resources that might make their life a lot easier. The section for Practice Managers can be found under the main heading ‘Educators’ in the horizontal menu above.   The Bradford scheme also holds yearly Practice Manager training sessions.  Contact Clare Connolly for more information on clare.connolly@bradford.nhs.uk

DOWNLOADS

Understanding the role of the GP Trainer

Policies:

Supervising Intending Trainers

Basic Educational Theory

Facilitating

Teaching Small Groups