Pages for Intending Trainers

the basics & preparing for your interview – ALL ON ONE PAGE

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path: INTENDING TRAINER RESOURCES

path: BECOMING A TRAINING PRACTICE

path: ORGANISATIONAL MATTERS

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

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.    Why 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.

Why become a trainer/training practice? The positives...

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.

Can you identify with any of these?

And the negatives

  • 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?

  • Where do you sit now?
  • 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.   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. 
  • 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.

Create the right ethos towards GP training across the whole practice. 

  • 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.

Hook the PM into GP training as much as you

  • 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 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?

Practice Meetings – include a GP training agenda

  • 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 physically do next? I'm keen & I have the support of my practice.

  • Make contact with your Training Programme Director (TPD) with the lead responsibility for new trainers.  Go to your local GP training scheme’s website and email the Programme Administrator or the TPDs directly.  To find your scheme’s website, just type it into Google.
  • Make contact with the Deanery person who looks after all those intending to become a GP training.  Go to your Deanery’s website and explore.
  • 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.

What about GP induction for my new GP trainee? And an induction pack?

Go to the link below.  It is the Bradford VTS pages on GP induction for GP trainees and their trainers.   There’s a wealth of information and resources on it which you can download, adapt and use.  For example, there is a generic Induction Handbook, that you can download and adapt for your own use.  All the information on that page is equally useful for GP trainers to know too.  

What equipment does the practice need for provide to the GP trainee?

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

  • 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.   And you don’t need to buy expensive equipment like a £500 ophthalmoscope.   Check out reasonable alternatives in the doctorshop link below.  

What sorts of things do I need to do before my interview?

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

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 Deanery 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 Deanery.

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 DEANERIES
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

 

Tell me about HDR and why it will be helpful to me?

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 🙂

 

There's so much reading... Any good teaching tips to start me off?

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

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!

Got any suggestions or advice?

Got any advice?  Anything we’ve missed?  Anything that you think is inaccurate? Then leave a message below.   Got a resource to share: contact [email protected]

Make GP Training Better Together’

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