Pages for New & Intending Trainers

the educational basics & preparing for your interview -- all on ONE page

Intro

There is a lot to learn -- both knowledge and skills -- in a relatively short space of time.  We hope these pages will provide a sense of direction and organisational stability to your learning journey.    This one-stop page hosts resources that we don’t expect you to learn straight away.   Instead, see it as a dashboard that you can come back to again and again to revisit things, learn new things and decide where to go next.  We will also provide some tips and a selection of videos that we feel will help you as a new educator and develop your educator skills.    This is an exciting journey…

By the way, if you have files you would like me to host on here and share with others, please email them to me.  [email protected]

What you will find on these pages...

Help you decide if you really want to become a GP Trainer. In order to do this in a balanced 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.
Highlight what is expected from a you and the practice from the point of view of the Deanery & GP Training Scheme
Provide you with some really useful downloadable start-up resources -- including preparation for the interview!
Some downloadable resources for mentoring intending/new trainers

Teaching is Not Just Going Through Something Via PowerPoint

How long will it take for me to become an approved GP Trainer

On average, about one year.    And if you’re doing a Diploma/PGCert, may be even too years.  Some HEE GP Schools like you to do a Diploma or PGCert to show you have a suitable qualification for education.   Many people enjoy doing the Diploma or PGCert but others find it really hard and intense work and this can put them off.   So, some HEE GP Schools have developed an alternative “set of workshops” for you to attend which is less theoretical and more practical and tailored to GP training.  

But why does it take so long?   Because GP Training is a specialty in its own right.   You would have no qualms about doing a deep and thorough training course to become a GP with a special interest in say Dermatology or Diabetes.   In a similar way, you are applying to become a GP with a special interest in GP training and education.   Therefore, you need new knowledge and new skills to do that job just like you would with Dermatology.  And that’s why it takes 1-2 years.    You will go on courses.  You will learn new stuff.  You will be expected to borrow trainees and practice these things.  You will go on more courses to reflect on your initial teaching attempts.  And then you will fine tune your skills before apply for the interview.  

 So, if you are thinking about becoming a GP trainer, apply 1-2 years BEFORE you actually want to start.

The postives and negatives of becoming a GP Training Practice

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:

  • Becoming a training practice is an opportunity to re-examine practice infrastructure and organisation
  • Approval as a training practice is one indication of high standards of record keeping, organisation, premises and patient care.
  • Contact with young doctors is stimulating and keeps everyone more in touch with developments in general practice.
  • You get the pleasure of seeing young people develop and their overt appreciation for your help. This pleasurable feeling is immeasurable.
  • You get a free pair of hands (sometimes questionable) and some training money in return.
  • Educational activity is a good balance to clinical activity, for both the trainer and the practice.
  • It helps develop your educational skills and helps keeps you and the practice clinically up to date.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It helps you contribute to the future of general practice and contribution makes one feel good.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Some trainers are so busy with other things that they find it difficult to find time for GP Training 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
  • A trainer has to be reapproved on certain criteria every 5 years – some people just don’t fancy going through that rigorous stone turning process.

Having heard both sides to the argument, how do you feel?

  • Can you identify with any of these? 
  • Where do you sit now?
  • If you’re in the pre-contemplation phase of wanting to become a GP Trainer, contact a neighbouring established GP Trainer.   Meet for coffee and ask them what they think of training, explore the pros and cons and get the contact details for your local GP Training Scheme.
  • 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.

How to gain the support of your practice

Creating the right ethos towards GP training within the practice is incredibly important.  This means everyone -- not just you.   In the advice below, 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.

  1. Are all others in your practice all hooked up and keen on the idea of GP training as much as you?  

  2. Get the Practice Manager as hooked into and passionate about GP training as you. 
  3. Get others involved in training.    
  4. Train people up.  
  5. In your practice meetings, build in a section devoted to ‘GP training’
  • 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.
  • If there is only one person that can make GP training happen smoothly – it’s the Practice Manager.   
  • There are going to be times when last minute things need doing, sorting or changing and a PM who is “hooked” will always make your life as a GP trainer a pleasant and enjoyable one.
  • 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 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?

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?

  • Cover things like GP training updates and try and get a discussion going around important issues.    
  • Get the rest of the team 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.

So, how does applying to become a GP Trainer work?

  • The process of apply to become a trainer is roughly the same throughout the UK.   But don’t wait until you and the practice are totally ready to take a new GP trainee on.   You will not get a trainee overnight and it takes on average 1-2 years for you to be approved as a GP Trainer and for your practice to be approved as a GP Training Practice.   
  • Apply in advance.   Roughly 1-2 years before you want to actually start taking on a new GP trainee.
  • Contact your local GP Training Scheme (all schemes generally have a website).   Express that you are interested in becoming a GP trainer and whether one of the Training Programme Directors (TPDs) could meet with you.   The local TPD will meet and guide you further on the process.  
  • Fill out the application form for becoming a GP Trainer.   The TPD will advise you how to fill this in.   This form will get sent to the regional HEE GP School (the body that looks after all the GP training schemes in your area).   They will review your application and if successful outline the 1-2 year process of becoming a trainer.
  • In that 2 year process, how you actually become a GP trainer varies a little up and down the country.   Some regions like you to do a qualification course like a PGCE or PGCME -- Post Graduate Certificate in (Medical) Education.  These are enlightening courses but require quite a significant input and commitment from you.   Other places put on a set of New Trainer courses -- each of which you have to attend.  The idea being each course (1) revisits what was taught previously, (2) reflects on how you found it in real practice, and (3) how you can then build on that.   Essentially “Constructivism” in practice.   During this time, we would urge you to keep revisiting this Bradford VTS page for new and intending trainers, and gently familiarise yourself with the educational documents and resources on here -- especially the basic educational theory and how to do the various Work-Place Based Assessments of the MRCGP.  The Bradford VTS website has been going since 2002 and as a result holds lots of information about GP training and it will answer about 99% of your queries.   By all means get in touch if you want to help write some of these pages (no web experience required: [email protected]).   We are always delighted to have newcomers on board.
  • Then towards the end of that 1-2 years, you will have to attend a GP Trainer’s Interview.  This is usually held at your local GP school.  There will be someone from the HEE Deanery, a TPD, an experienced GP Trainer,  and a member of the Human Resources team.    There may also be a lay person on the team of assessors.   Most of these interviews have a relaxed approach.  (see section below on The New Trainer’s Interview).

There's a lot to read on this page. I feel overwhelmed. Where do I start?

Yes, we agree with you.   There is an incredible amount of information to learn.   And actually, that is the case with anything -- for example, if you were learning to play the piano for scratch, would that be a breeze?   As with anything new, there is that steep learning period.  But how comfortable that learning period feels depends on how you approach your learning.

You have 1-2 years to absorb and apply this information.   So set up a timetable where you will (say) devote 90 minutes three times a week.   Try and pick the same days and same times as habits are easier to form that way.

Don’t spend hours trying to absorb this new stuff… it will drive you mental!   Our learning capacity is about 20-30 mins.    So, in addition to spacing out the learning as mentioned above, take regular breaks during each session.   

So, for a 90 min session, I would take two 10 min breaks at the 25 min and 60 min marks.

We’ve created something called “The GP Training Map”.  This outlines what the GP trainee has to achieve by the end of the 3 years of GP training in the UK.  It tells you what is expected to be achieved and by when.    This training map helps you to understand what is expected of you in this journey as a GP Trainer.   Please come back to it often.   Double check your trainee is “on track”.    It is also accessible through the main horizontal menu at the top of this website under “GP TRAINING”

Click here to access The GP Training Map for the UK.

The other thing to familiarise yourself with is all the sub-components of MRCGP -- thinks like the Work-Place Based Assessments like COTs and CBDs.   You can find help files and useful resources through the main horizontal menu under the header “MRCGP”.

Your GP training course will guide you.   Things like…

    • Basic educational theory.
    • How to identify Learning Needs.
    • Learning how to give feedback.
    • Understanding Aims and Intending Learning Outcomes (ILOs).
    • Understanding Constructive Alignment.
    • Knowing how to use Teaching Plans to develop a workshop or presentation.
    • Doing some Presentations.
    • Doing the Work Place Based Assessments -- esp COTs and CBDs.
    • Being familiar with video methods like Pendleton, Gask and ALOBA.
    • Understanding key elements of Educational Supervision. 

Don’t just learn the theory; you have to apply it, just like you’re expecting your GP trainees to do with what you teach them.    So, do some assessments with a GP trainee in your practice -- or borrow one if you don’t have one.   

  • Practice things like doing debriefs (and even some of the work place based assessments) on your fellow GP colleagues.   
  • Practice giving feedback to learn how to do it -- both at home and at work.     
  • Sit in on qualified GP trainers -- observe them doing assessments like a COT or things like Educational Supervision. 
  • Attend Half Day Release to learn some educational skills
  • Ask if you can help co-facilitate some HEE GP School led courses -- again, building your facilitation skills.  In fact, if any one offers you the opportunity to help with any courses -- take them up on the offer.   You’ll learn skills that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

Get as much practical experience as possible because not only do you perfect your own skills, it also helps knowledge(like educational theory) become embedded with ease. 

When you have embarked on a new pathway for something, research has proven the value of mentoring for improving your rapid and effective development.  If you have a mentor, one of the biggest benefits is being able to achieve your goals more quickly and effectively than working alone.  You will also build a network of expertise to draw on can benefit both yourself and others.  Mentors can act as an impartial sounding board.  They can create valuable space and time for you to ‘stand back’ and review where you are now, where you want to get to, and how best to get there.   Mentors will help you see other perspectives that you may not have seen before.  They will contribute viewpoints, advice, and information from their own knowledge, experience and expertise.  And finally mentors can assist you to achieve changes and goals to enhance your professional and personal life.

So, go get yourself an Educational Mentor Today.  Educational Mentors are usually GP trainers that are recognised as well-established, experienced and skillful.   Ask your local Training Programme Director to assign an Educational Mentor to you.  They have a pool of them and their time is usually funded by your local HEE.

Training the Trainer Videos

Here are 14 videos grouped into 3 modules for you to work through.  Remember what we said, don’t watch them all in one go -- bit by bit and gradual is the key.   Let it soak in so that you can mull it over and build it into your own mental schema.  These videos are not specifically designed for the GP Trainer in mind, but the key messages and principles are the same. 

Video Playlist
1/14 videos
1
How Adults Learn - Train the Trainer Module  1- 2016
How Adults Learn - Train the Trainer Module 1- 2016
08:19
2
Leading Effective Group Discussions - Train the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
Leading Effective Group Discussions - Train the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
09:28
3
Handling Challenging Learners - Train the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
Handling Challenging Learners - Train the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
08:24
4
Using Comparisons in Learning - Train the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
Using Comparisons in Learning - Train the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
06:14
5
Conducting Role Plays - Training the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
Conducting Role Plays - Training the Trainer Module 1 - 2016
10:11
6
More Than Words - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
More Than Words - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
09:53
7
Managing Fear - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
Managing Fear - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
07:15
8
Recipe For Engagement - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
Recipe For Engagement - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
06:37
9
Creating Effective Demonstrations - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
Creating Effective Demonstrations - Train the Trainer Module 2 - 2017
12:50
10
Active Listening - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
Active Listening - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
07:02
11
Giving Feedback - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
Giving Feedback - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
08:15
12
Crafting Your Story - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
Crafting Your Story - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
07:57
13
Questions That Drive Learning - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
Questions That Drive Learning - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
07:10
14
Telling Great Stories - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
Telling Great Stories - Train the Trainer Module 3 - 2017
11:17

FAQs

Here are 3 main links to help you.

  1. Induction to General Practice for New Trainees
    This page, whilst geared at new GP trainees starting a GP post will be useful for new and established trainers to read.   Not only does it offer a page you can direct your new trainee to but it also serves a remind of all the things that are important for you to discuss with the newbie.   There are also a wealth of information resources on this page which you can download, adapt and use.   Including a list of suggested tutorials.
  2. The Bradford VTS Generic Induction Handbook
    You can download and adapt this for your own use.  In fact, please do read this generic induction handbook -- there’s information in it that you will find helpful.  At our practice, we get this induction handbook printed off by one of the online printing services and get it professionally bound -- see details below.  New trainees tell us that they have never had something so professional looking from other practices and that it makes them feel like they are “special”.   We get them to bring it to every day of induction so we can follow it through like a workbook.    It works well -- trainees love it and it keeps us (the trainers) effortlessly on track.    Try it.
        • Online printers we use: https://doxzoo.com/documents/book-printing
        • Cost: £20 per copy if you order more than 1 copy
        • Order Details as follows…..
        • Orientation: portrait     Paper size: A4     Printed sides: double-sided     Print in: colour     Paper colour: white     Paper finish: silk     Paper weight: 130g    Binding position: left long edge   
        • Cover design: cover design is included (recommended)     Front cover included: move page 1     Back cover included: copy last page     Spine design: design a spine     Print covers in: colour     Cover lamination: Gloss laminated
  3. The Trainer’s Toolkit
    This invaluable resource provides you with a complete GP timeline from the trainee starting to them leaving and providing signposts of important things to do at which stage.     The first 2 weeks (often defined as the induction period) is outlined in significant detail.   Each week is separated into two sections -- things for you, as the GP trainer to consider, and things for your Practice Manager to do.   Please highlight this section to your Practice Manager.  It is important that both of you are “singing off the same hymn sheet”.

The GP trainee will hopefully bring a stethoscope.  The GP training practice will provide them with a doctor’s bag which will include a minimum of the the things listed below.   

  • BP machine
  • Sats monitor
  • Thermometer (digital)
  • Auroscope
  • Ophthalmoscope
  • Glucometer
  • Peak Flow Meter
  • Tendon Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • an Emergency Drugs box (check that that items are still in date).  Includes things like adrenaline, benzylpenicillin, aspirin, an inhaler and GTN spray.
  • Paper
Every new GP induction time is the ideal time to check for things that are missing or items that are out of date.    Please consider supporting the Bradford VTS website by buying from our Amazon Affiliate site -  same good deals as on Amazon, processed at the end through you Amazon account all via Amazon UK.  And you don't need to buy expensive equipment like a £500 ophthalmoscope.  In fact, why buy expensive medical equipment when other less expensive items with equal quality will do?   Often, you're paying for the name - just like Levis versus another pair of good enough jeans!   So, at Bradford VTS, we have sourced items which we think are just as good as the well known names but at about half the cost.   This is particularly useful for practices that have multiple trainees.  
Take a peek now and be impressed: www.thedoctorshop.co.uk 

All GP training schemes throughout the country have responsibility for providing ongoing training for their GP Trainers so that they continually maintain their teaching skills whilst developing new ones two.     Your regional HEE GP School has responsibility for this too.   So, throughout the UK, GP Trainers are encouraged to go on two types of training: (i) GP Training provided by your local GP Training Scheme and (ii) GP Training provided by your HEE Deanery GP School.

TRAINERS’ WORKSHOPS RUN BY YOUR LOCAL GP TRAINING SCHEME

The agenda for these tend to be free so that Trainers can set their own agenda on the day.  However, others tend to be more specific if a set of Trainers have requested training on a specific issue (like Giving Feedback or Educational Supervision).  The aims of the local scheme Trainers’ Workshops is to…

  • maintain your knowledge and skills
  • enhance your knowledge and skills
  • help you collaborate with neighbouring GP trainers (and develop a community of GP trainers)
  • provide a space for you to aire and work on your difficulties and difficult trainees (in a collaborative manner).

Attendance at Trainers’ Workshops is an integral part of being a GP Trainer.   You are expected to attend most of them (not necessarily all of them).   Different GP Training Schemes run their  Trainers’ Workshops in different ways.  Some provide training on various half-days throughout the year.  Others will provide whole-day training.  Yet others will do 2-3 day residential workshops.    And then there are schemes like Bradford, which provide a combination of the three, enabling as many GP Trainers to come as possible.   If you want to find out more about ‘What’s On’ for the remainder of the year -- email your Programme Administrator.  And as an intending trainer, YOU ARE ENCOURAGED to go -- you may be quizzed about it in your interview!   Besides, these workshops are great fun (trust me) and everyone needs a day or two (or more), out of the practice!

TRAINERS’ COURSES RUN BY HEE GP SCHOOLS
All Deaneries run Trainers’ workshops too.  Whilst your local workshops tend to be “free” in terms of a set agenda, Deanery run courses will more likely than not have a specifically set agenda.   Again, the aims of Deanery Workshops is

  • maintain your knowledge and skills
  • enhance your knowledge and skills
  • help you collaborate with other REGIONAL GP trainers

To find out “What’s On”, go to your regional Deanery’s website.   For Yorkshire & the Humber, click here.   Examples of sessions include…

  • CSRs and ESRs for New Trainers 
  • Rank and Power Dynamics in GP Training 
  • Self-awareness and Respectful Curiosity: An approach to working with diversity
  • Why do we work? & How can we support our trainees to stay motivated throughout their career?
  • WPBA New Horizons: New Assessments, Prescribing, QIA and Beyond….
  • Educating the Multi-Professional Workforce in General Practice -- Roles for GP Educators
  • ES for Established Trainers 
  • Maintaining the Art of GP -- ‘Sensory Loss’
  • Medical Ethics I -Teaching Philosophical Bioethics
  • Reconnect with your Community: Training with purpose for a healthier population
  • WPBA for Established Trainers 
  • Maintaining the Art of GP -- ‘Storytelling’
  • Making Decisions Better
  • Managing Difficult Conversations with Trainees in Difficulty
  • GP Training for Non-Trainers
  • WPBA  for Prospective Trainers
  • Medical Ethics II -- Teaching Medical Ethics in the Real World
  • Refining your Consultation Skills
  • Supporting AKT Candidates; Information Mastery
  • The Art of Increasing Resilience and Cultivating Wellbeing in GP
  • Supporting trainees through CSA

HALF DAY RELEASE

Every GP Training scheme runs either a half-day (2-5pm ish) training session every week (or equivalent - some areas do fortnightly full days).    This is an educational programme for GP trainers, covering all sorts of things like clinical, ethical, MRCGP, the arts in medicine and so on.   Each session is run differently with varying educational methodologies to suit the learning needs of different learners.    It's an enjoyable and fun half-day .
 

As an intending trainer, you should think about helping out at HDR.  Contact your local TPD for more information.  Even  established GP Trainers are encouraged to go.  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 and co-facilitate with you.    On many schemes, the GP trainees are split into small groups and there is therefore a lot of small group working.   In helping out, you will develop facilitation skills that will be transferable to other parts of your life (as well as back at the practice during meetings!).

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 TPDs 🙂

A lot of people think that Educational Theory is boring.  In fact, we thought the same when we first did it.    The reason why it is boring is because the material is often written by academics in a style of language that is designed to impress than get the deep and meaningful message across.   Some authors simply do not know how to write in simple terms. 

And that’s where we come in.    We have re-written a lot of the literature on the fundamental educational theory in a way that you will be able to grasp it on the first read.    And we’ve presented it in a way that will truly help you understand what is being said — so much so, that it will transform the way you think and practice.      This is the very reason why we are so keen on new trainers understanding the fundamentals of Educational Theory.   This stuff really matters!  This stuff makes a massive difference to how people learn!   This stuff is transformative in nature.   

So, don’t let your previous exposure to boring educational theory put you off.  Time to revisit it.  Time for new light bulb moments in your head.  Click the pink button above to access the resources that will teach you the fundamentals of Educational Theory.     Remember not to read everything in one go.  Little-by-little and often is the key.  And try and have a go at applying it when you next see the opportunity at work.  Just have a go and keep at it.   You’ll become an expert in no time.

Key things we think are important for intending and new GP trainers to learn…

There are other things worth learning too.   See the “Weblinks” section at the top of this page.   Remember, try not to learn all of these things in one swoop -- it’s too much - break things down into chunks.   Small and often is the way.   And of course, anything you read is made super powerful if you implement and practise it. 

What sorts of trianing things do I need to do?

Get in touch with TPD & Deanery

Get in touch with both your local TPD and the Deanery to show your interest in GP Training.

Your TPD will visit your practice to make sure it meets all the physical and other requirements necessary for GP training.  You can get documents detailing these from your TPD.   Get your PM involved too!

Fill in the application form carefully.  Get your PM to do it and then you fine tune it.   Remember, this is the only thing the Deanery has on you at the beginning -- so make a good impression.  Fill with deep consideration.  Get it checked by your local friendly TPD before submission.

Sign up to New Trainer's Course or University Diploma/PGCert

All Deaneries run some sort of formal teaching programme for Intending Trainers.   This will be a pre-requisite for approval to become a trainer.  It’s not just a one day one-off course.  Most are 2 or 3 days and some even spread out over a year.  

Some Deaneries are satisfied with you attending their approved new trainer’s course.  However, other Deaneries require you to get a Diploma or PGCert in Medical Education -- which is a lot more onerous and involves a lot more work.   However, most people say they loved it. 

Get a Mentor & arrange some meetings

Ask your TPD to assign you a New Trainer Mentor.  Then make contact with them   Try and arrange about 6 x 3h sessions with them.   Your mentor will guide you and fill in the ‘trainer’ gaps in your knowledge and skills.  They will ask you to practise some of the things you have discussed with a trainee, and possibly even record via video for later review.   Nearly all intending trainers I have spoken to have loved having a Mentor.  You will too.     Keep a diary and educational notes of what you discuss and learn.   And reflect!  You may need to talk about some of this stuff at your interview.

Attend Trainer's Workshops - run by your scheme & Deanery

Make sure you have attended some of the Trainers’ Workshops run locally by your scheme.    This provides an invaluable opportunity to network with other Trainers and the TPDs.   They will become your future support mechanism and they re-kindle your enthusiasm for training if it ever becomes a bit hum drum and dry.   The Deanery will also run some Educational Workshops -- and you should try and attend a few of these (in Yorkshire & Humber -- we call these Autumn/Spring/Summer Schools).

Get involved with HDR

Get involved with the local Half-Day Release programme.  

You’ll get some educational experience and build your repertoire of teaching skills.  And it’s fun working with so many trainees -- you’ll love it, trust me!

Do some reading & practise with a borrowed trainee

There are so many aspects to GP training.  Things like learning how to teach, giving effective feedback, supervising, mentoring and so on.   The great thing is that many of these skills are transferable to other parts of your life.    But to learn them you have to start somewhere -- and that comes with reading, watching You Tube video clips and attending courses and seminars.   And don’t forget to borrow a GP trainee (from your own practice or a neighbouring one) to practice some of these skills.

Tell me about local Trainers' Workshops and Deanery run courses

The first thing we would like to point out is that all the people on the Trainer’s Interview Panel really want you to do well.    Therefore, they are not there to grill you to the nth degree.  If others before you have said that they felt like it was a grilling, it’s probably because that particular intending trainer wasn’t particularly able to give the panel the confidence that they had done all that was required of training.  If you provide vague and woolly responses, then it is only right for the interviewers to slow down and ask more and more questions until they feel they have a clear enough picture.   Would you say that’s fair?  

In simple terms, the interviewing panel simply want you to furnish them with good evidence for the things below.   You cant just “talk the talk” -- they will want real examples or real practical suggestions to show that you have thought about it and competent to deal with it.    They just want to make sure that….

  • you are a committed GP trainer and that you are doing it for the right reasons.
  • you have put in the right amount of prep work.   You have attended courses run by Deanery, local schemes and other educational establishments.  You have helped out at HDR.    You have completed the PCGE or a set of New Trainers’ Courses.  By the way, we have never come across a GP trainer that did not find their Trainer training courses enlightening.  Some have said the University PGCE courses are hard work, but still found the content stimulating.   Nearly everyone has said how wonderful the GP School led trainers’ courses are.   We hope you will too.
  • you have the required basic knowledge for the different components of GP training. This includes basic educational theory.  
  • you have developed the skills required for the different components of GP training.   This includes educational skills like what sorts of teaching methods you would use.  Why those?  Which ones for which circumstances?  Can you apply the theory to real life?
  • you have a structured and holistic approach for “the trainee in difficulty”
  • your practice is ready for GP training too, and that you have engaged the support of everyone
  • on a practical level, you have thought about various things in relation to GP training.  For instance
        • what exactly will your induction programme look like in real life
        • you have worked out a weekly timetable for the trainee which does not break the 40h/week rule
        • the timetable clearly shows debriefs and who the clinical supervisor for each day is as well as protected time for tutorials and admin/personal time.
        • you have a system in place for adjusting the weekly hours if a trainee does an OOH session
        • that provision is in place for tutorials when you are away on leave
        • how will you introduce OOH training to the trainee

If you look closely in the “INTENDING TRAINER RESOURCES” section at the top of this page, you will see some “interview” documents that will give you a flavour of things that might be asked.

  • As a teacher your aim is to develop your trainee’s expertise within an application context, understanding of knowledge, and self regulated application of skills.
  • Your teaching content should be organised around a few powerful ideas (basic understandings and principles).  Try not to be too exhaustive.
  • The teacher’s role is not just to present information but also to scaffold and respond to trainee’s learning efforts.
  • The trainee’s role is not just to absorb or copy new information but also to actively make sense and construct meaning.  Get them involved!
  • Construct educational activities 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 trainees 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 involve your Practice Manager

Get your Practice Manager involved in GP training right from the start.  Make sure they are hooked in as much as you.  Believe me when I say a great PM who is so positive about GP training will make GP Training life in the practice fun and easy.

Don’t forget to tell your Practice Manager that there is a section on this website specifically 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.  Some schemes (like Bradford) run 6 monthly workshops for their Practice Managers (thus getting them all together and form a community of GP Training Practice Managers). Contact your local Programme Administrator to see if this happens on your scheme.  If not, suggest it!    Also tell them about the Trainer’s Toolkit which also has sections for them, not just the trainer.

The Trainer's Interview

THE INTERVIEW STRUCTURE

  • It will only last 20-30 minutes.
  • It should not feel intimidating. No one is trying to trip you up.   The panel are nice people.   They are genuinely interested in you and simply want to see if (a) you’re the right type of person and (b) that you are committed and (c) you’ve done some preparatory work.    If all three are okay enough – it’s likely you will get though.    If you feel intimidated and find it difficult to get your words out (or feel like your stumbling on your words) then say so.  ‘I’m really sorry, but I’m feeling quite anxious and finding it difficult to get out what I want to say’.   They will then spend a few moments to put you at ease.
  • The panel is more interested in your feelings, attitudes and values rather than knowledge! In other words, don’t get too worked up on the deeper aspects of educational theory and fancy fancy educational terms – as long as you understand the basic principles of Adult Learning Theory, Identifying Learning Needs, Feedback Skills and Educational Planning.
  • The panel will be interested in how you feel about training from deep within and how you plan to make it happen.  They basically want to make sure that you have given training some deep thought and discussion and that you fully appreciate the implications of training for you and your practice.    Taking on training is not a responsibility to be take lightly…..and although rewarding, it can be hard work!  They want to see commitment, enthusiasm and positive regard. 
  • And one last thing – JUST BE YOURSELF!  Good luck.
  • Admit to your difficulties and uncertainties -- they appreciate honesty.
PREPARATION
  • Make sure you have filled out any paper work with careful thought and not a last minute rushed thing. Panels can easily tell if something has been done in haste.  And it doesn’t look good.  Will it mean you will do training in haste?   

Make sure the GP trainee’s timetable is done to proper standards. This is a common reason for failure to get through.    They want to see that you have observed the minimum requirements.  Please look at the timetable you and your Practice Manager have devised for your trainee.

  • 7 clinical sessions
  • 3 non-clinical session (1 is HDR, 1 is practice tutorial, 1 is personal study).
  • Tutorial and Personal Study can be split eg 2 x 1.5h tutorials spread out in the week.
  • All clinical sessions must be followed by a 20-30 minute debrief session with a qualified GP who will go through the patient list to ensure patient safety and quick teaching where necessary.
  • Make sure the trainee’s time at the practice overlaps as much as possible with yours.
  • Make sure the total hours add up to no more than 40h per week
  • OOH sessions – trainees will need to do 1 per month, and for that time to be reimbursed in the same week. For that to happen, trainees need to be good at telling the practice in plenty of time in advance of sessions.  Do you have a system in place for that?

Make sure you have an Induction Pack for the trainee.

  • What information do you send them before they join?
  • What information do you provide on arrival and during their induction?
  • How do you prevent information overload?
  • The pack does not need to be lengthy.
  • Have you devised a 2-week Induction time-table.
  • Need help?  www.bradfordvts.co.uk/new-trainee/gp-post 

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Now you’re on the way to becoming a trainer, it’s time to stop and think about your journey so far.  This guidance sheet will help you reflect and really decide for yourself whether training is for you.    Try and write down the responses to some of the following on a sheet of paper.  Once you done them all, step back and ponder… take an overall view and decide if you’ve made the right choice.   I hope you have.  Teaching and training can be a very rewarding experience.

Dr. Ramesh Mehay

PS This document may help you with your final Trainer interview.   They won’t ask everyone of these questions.  Just some, around 5 or 6.

  • What are the different roles of a GP trainer?   (Think Assessor, Teacher, Facilitator, Pastoral).   Do you feel comfortable with all those roles?
  • What qualities do you think make a good Trainer?  
  • Why did you decide to become a trainer?    To be able to reflect on this, you must have a clear understanding of the role of the trainer and the responsibilities.
  • What strengths do you think you have in terms of being a Trainer?
  • What will be your weaknesses as a Trainer?
  • How will you tackle these weaknesses?
  • Do you understand that GP training is a whole practice led activity (as opposed to the GP trainer doing it all)?   So, how involved was the rest of the members of the practice with the decision to train?
  • When you first raised the idea of GP training, were there any objections from others?   How did you handle those not that interested in GP training?
  • How have you physically prepared your surgery for becoming a training practice?
  • How have you prepared other members for becoming a training practice?
  • Look back at the last year or so…
      • How have you prepared for becoming a trainer? 
      • What’s been your teaching experience so far?   
      • Are there any experiences you can think of from which you have learnt something important about yourself?
  • What about the Trainers’ workshops.
      • Have you attended any? 
      • What do you think of them? 
      • What have you learned from them? 
      • Do you think you’ll go to future ones?  Why? 
      • Do you think your local trainers’ workshop is useful?  
      • How can they be improved?
  • An important part of being a trainer is giving feedback.   How would you give feedback in a way where it is more likely to be embraced than rejected?
  • What new educational skills do you feel you have acquired in preparation for becoming a GP trainer?
      • Trainers need to 
          1. identify learning needs,
          2. have a variety of educational methods in their educational repository,
          3. understand how to match learning methods to educational aims
          4. have 1:1 facilitation skills and perhaps small-group/large group facilitation skills if teaching groups of trainees
          5. have assessment skills (as in WPBA things like COTs, CBDs etc)
          6. give feedback 
          7. have an idea of how to approach the trainee in difficulty  (whether academically failing or personal difficulties).

Don’t worry, they won’t ask too many questions nor will they test you to the nth degree.  They just want to make sure that you understand some basic educational theory and how it applies in the real world of GP training.   Things like:

  • How will you identify the new trainee’s learning needs?
  • How will you devise a learning plan for your new trainee?
  • How would you prepare for a tutorial?
  • What sorts of teaching or educational methods will you use in your tutorials?  How will you decide what to use?
  • How would you evaluate a tutorial?
  • How would you handle the trainee who constantly wants “spoon-feeding”?
  • How would you encourage adult learning?   (NB this is a good way to tackle the trainee who constantly yearns for spoon feeding!)
  • What are the principles of adult learning?
  • How do learners acquire skills like communicaiton skills?
  • How would you motivate a trainee?
  • How will you ensure feedback is well received?
  • How much experience have you had with performing COT and CBD assessments?   What are your reflections about these assessment methods?
  • Have you had any experience or exposure to Educational Supervision?   What is the purpose of Educational Supervision?  How comfortable do you feel with taking on this role?
  • The trainer, in light of the MRCGP, is now an assessor and a teacher! In addition, you’ll develop close personal links with your trainee making you a friend as well. 
  • Can you see any conflicts with these different roles? 
  • Have you thought about ways in which you might approach or handle this?
  • Sometimes, training doesn’t go all nice and sweet. You may end up with a trainee with difficulties.  This could be a demotivated trainee, a trainee who is always late, a trainee with whom you have a personality clash, a trainee who doesn’t turn up to things like HDR, a trainee with emotional, psychological or physical problems. 
  • Have you thought how you might handle these situations?  (Better to have some idea now and be prepared than waiting for it to happen.  You’ll be glad to know that most trainees are an absolute pleasure to have.)
  • What will you do if you come across a training situation where you feel out of your depth?  
  • You have noticed that your trainee seems to be defensive when you give them feedback.  Other GPs in the practice have said the same too.   What would you do?
  • Your GP trainee appears to be failing academically.  What approach would you take?
  •  
  •  

Don’t just ask something for the sake of asking or trying to look smart.    Ask something that you have a genuine inquiry.

And finally, you might find this document interesting reading.   Don’t stay up all night revising!   It’s not that sort of interview.  Just be YOU and be honest. 

Got any suggestions or advice or comments?

Got any advice?  Anything we’ve missed?  Anything that you think is inaccurate? Any ideas of how we can improve this page?  Then leave a message below.   Got a resource to share: contact [email protected].  

Make GP Training Better Together’

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