Welcome to New Trainees
this is your starting point
How are you feeling?
Are you feeling worried? Apprehensive? A little scared? Don’t know what you have signed up for?
Don’t worry! These are perfectly normal feelings most GP trainees experience when they start a GP scheme. Yes, there is an awful lot to cover, but remember – YOU HAVE LOTS OF TIME TOO!!! So, instead of feeling a little apprehensive, see you if you can turn that emotion into an exciting feeling – because you’ll be learning lots of new and wonderful things!
Understanding General Practice in the UK
The first thing to get to grips with is to understand how General Practice works in the UK. Many trainees (both those that graduate from the UK and those that graduate outside) have little knowledge of the Primary Care model used in the UK. By the way, for those of you from abroad, primary care is another word for general practice and secondary care refers to hospitals.
Here are two video clips that are worth while watching. The first helps you understand how the NHS works. And the second, more specifically about General Practice.
5 things to do when you join a scheme
- Get hold of your rota.
Contact your TPDs and get your rota so that you find out the details of your first post. Then contact that post and see exactly what is going to happen on your first and subsequent few days. Is there anything you need to bring with you? Anything you need to register. Obtain a copy of your induction programme.
- If your first post is in GP, make sure you are on something called the Supplementary List
A supplementary list is a list of doctors in the local area that are allowed to practise in that area). Failure to do so may mean you can’t start work when expected and that can have huge ramifications (you may end up with an extension to training etc.). So get it sorted now.
- Make sure your defence union subscription is all up to scratch.
- Register with the RCGP – THIS IS DEAD IMPORTANT AND YOU NEED TO DO THIS BEFORE YOU START THE SCHEME.
Registration is online with an initial registration fee which is confirmed by email. The ePortfolio will be activated between 24 and 48 hours after registration with a welcome pack sent approximately 10 days after. Once registered, you are then called an “Associate in Training” (AiT).
– To register online, go to: https://www.rcgp.org.uk/about-us/membership/become-a-member/ait-trainee-gps.aspx
– There is an enquiry line for AiTs (email [email protected] or telephone 020 7344 3078) for any registration queries
- Note the dates for the GP Training Scheme’s induction.
There are two inductions you will have at the start of your training. The first is an induction to your post – either a GP post based induction or a hospital specialty based induction. These will help you settle into your new specific ST1 post. The second induction will be that organised by your GP TRAINING SCHEME. The aim of this induction is to provide a sort of orientation session where you understand THE WHOLE of your GP training pathway and journey (and all the requirements, including exams). You must attend both. If you don’t know when your GP scheme’s induction is – email your GP scheme administrator. When you have got your dates for your GP TRAINING SCHEME’S induction, don’t forget to book that time as study leave with your first post. PLEASE TELL THEM AND BOOK IT IN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE – they will not automatically know.
Make a good first impression
It’s worth trying to make the best impression you can in the first few days of the post. Be friendly and show genuine interest in the job and all your colleagues at every level. Show a willingness to work hard, a willingness to listen to instructions and advice. If you do this, people around you will find it a pleasure to want to help you.
This applied to both GP and hospital posts. In hospital posts, this is particularly relevant in those specialties that lack a close team structure – where people don’t have a lot of opportunity to get to know each other in depth. In such departments, permanent staff tend to form a rapid impression of new doctors, who then get a reputation which sticks. People then take a long time to change their view if they have made up their mind about you. Is that something you would wish for on you?
It would be tactless and inappropriate for us to quote examples, but some trainees have found themselves pigeon-holed either negatively (e.g. as slack, unconscientious or uncooperative) or positively (e.g. helpful, hardworking or conscientious) on very little evidence. Later, when their behaviour has changed, their reputation hasn’t – reputation sticks!
That’s why we say a little extra effort in the first few days is likely to pay immense dividends in the end. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can be good, hard working and conscientious in the beginning and slack off towards the end. Individuals who go the extra mile are ALWAYS admired, respected and generally liked. Others, in return, will often go the extra mile for you!
I've got no ePortfolio... help!
It’s likely that you haven’t registered and therefore you have no National Training Number (NTN) which is necessary to create an e-portfolio. You need to get in touch with your TPDs/GP administrator ASAP. Do it now!
I've transferred from another scheme...
Hopefully, your ePortfolio and everything will have been transferred over by your Deaneries and the RCGP. So, log in and see if everything looks okay. In particular, have a look at your post rotations within it and check to make sure they are all correct. If anything is a miss, please contact your GP administrator first, failing that, your TPDs, failing that the Deanery, and failing that the RCGP.
What's the dress code?
Simply dress smart. You don’t have to wear a shirt and tie or an elegant dress. Looking smart is the key. Most hospitals ban ties – so please do make contact with your organisation if you have questions or anxieties.
10 Quick Starting Tips
Understand Professional Competencies
The Professional Competencies are basically a set of areas you are measured against. Nearly everything you do in GP Training is mapped to these 13 PCs. So, getting a real good understanding of them is crucial to you achieving them!
Understand the theory behind Reflection
One of the big things that ARCP panels and Educational Supervisors will assess are your learning log entries that you record in your ePortfolio. Those learning log entries must show evidence of performance as well as learning. But learning cannot happen without reflection. Therefore, understanding Reflection is a key thing to writing good learning log entries.
Don't miss your scheme's induction
Your induction programme run by your GP training scheme will tell you everything you need to know for your training in a nutshell. It also provides a space to ask questions and make contact and connections with others (like the TPDs, other trainees and the Programme Administrator).
Plan your courses in advance
Do remember that although you're a GP trainee, you are also an employee who is paid to do a job. Hospital departments and GP practices have a service to deliver to patients. Therefore, they can't just release you at the drop of a hat to release you to attend a course that you have booked at the last minute. So, book your training courses with plenty of advance notice (at least 6 weeks), including the induction course run by your GP training scheme.
Read a consultation book in ST1
Reading a book on Communication and Consultation Skills will really help you harness the power of effective communication in gathering clinical information quickly, making good decisions, and explaining things to patients in a way that is acceptable to them. Communication skills also help you enormously when things go wrong. Unless of course you love getting patients shout and swear at you! Jokes aside, a communication skills book is not only instrumental to helping you develop your consultation skills but also helps with the COT assessments and CSA exam preparation.
Do your QIA project in ST1
The ST1 year will probably be one of your more easier years where you have time and space to gradually get to know everything that is required of you.
This is the ideal time to be doing a Quality Improvement Activity (QIA) project. Ask your trainer for some advice. Don't leave it til ST3 (because you'll have lots to do, including exams) and in ST2 it's almost impossible with busy hospital shifts.
Do your OOH sessions on time
If you are in a GP post, there is a minimum number of Out of Hour sessions (OOH) that you are meant to do (usually 18 sessions). This works out to be roughly ONE per month throughout your GP posts. Do not leave them all to do in the last GP post - not only is this unacceptable (and shows poor time management and organisation skills) but also will prove to be VERY stressful for you at time when you will have a zillion things to do!
In your ePortfolio - simply recording the number of sessions worked does NOT provide evidence of this. Trainees must record a brief list of patients seen (and a concise summary of what was done) and reflect on one or two of the interesting ones which they think will help them provide evidence for curriculum coverage as well as some of the professional competencies.
Remember in hospital, you're a GP trainee
When trainees start their hospital post rotations, they quite rightly focus on the particular specialty that are working for. But what trainees often do is to forget all about General Practice and forget they are training to be GPs!
So, we are NOT asking you to lessen your enthusiasm for learning about a particular specialty. But instead, in each of your specialty posts think about the things that will serve you well as a GP.
- So, yes – practice your consultation skills.
- So, yes – learn about managing heavy menstrual bleeding in O&G rather than going to theatre to do Caesarians.
- So, yes – perfect your examination technique and get your mandatory CEPS done in hospital rather than waiting in GP.
Remember your ePortfolio
Your ePortfolio is one of the main things that is used in all your assessments like ES and CS meetings, and ARCP panels.
So it is right that you should pay a lot of attention and respect to it. Write things carefully - concisely - to demonstrate evidence - to show learning - rather than lengthy write ups of mindless waffle. And get at least the minimum number (although you should aim for twice the number) of things like CBDs, COTs and CEXs done in a timely way.
Read other sections of this website
And finally, there are tonnes of other things on this website. We have over 1000 resources. But please don't feel overwhelmed. You have 3 years to dip in and out of this website and learning things gradually and in a relaxed way.
The purpose of this site is to demystify GP training and use easier language than the RCGP website to help explain things in a more meaningful and practical way.
And of course, there are tonnes of things like help sheets and training material that you simply cannot find elsewhere. It's all free too!
Please leave a comment
What do you think of this page? Is there anything we have missed? Anything inaccurate, errors or broken links? Anything you would have liked included? Or even ask a question to get a discussion going. Please leave a comment below and we’ll update the page. If you would prefer to email me or send me something to share with others, contact [email protected]