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Bradford VTS Online Resources:

Teaching & Learning

Multiple Trainee Training


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Most GP training practices now have multiple trainees...

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Before 2010, most GP training practices had just the one GP trainee.  Now, many practices host 2-3-4-5 trainees.    There may be 3 trainers in one practice each taking one trainee (hence 3 in total).  In others, there may be 3 trainers in one practice where two take two trainees each and the other takes just the one (total = 5).

The GP trainees themselves like being part of a multiple GP trainee practice.  They feel less isolated both socially and professionally.    And there is a bigger opportunity for them developing their own teaching skills.   At the end of the day, the “How to learn” research shows teaching others helps embed knowledge, skills and attitudes.  

The benefits of multiple peer-peer contact is…

  • Sharing knowledge and experience
  • Learn the obvious from each other
  • Easier to ask a peer
  • Bounce ideas off each other
  • More fun
  • Social contact

At the moment though, most trainers seems have ring fenced training for their trainees to themselves.   The question is…

  1. Is there a more collaborative way the trainers of these multiple trainees can provide teaching and tutorials?
  2. Is there a more collaborative way the multiple trainees can take on the responsibility for educating each others.   

Some things you can change and some things you can't

  1. Induction – consider doing joint Induction Tutorials for all the GP trainees.   Perhaps even joint sitting and observing different health professionals. 
  2. Debriefing – sometimes having joint debriefs might be okay if all trainees are agreeable and the climate is one that is conducive to learning.    If a trainee is particularly sensitive – think about continuing to do them 1-1.   HOWEVER, for all GP trainees, debriefing should NOT be SOLELY a joint activity.
  3. Tutorials – there is an opportunity to have joint tutorials.  But beware, don’t do this just so you have freed up one GP trainer to get more patient appointments for your surgery.   Consider both trainers doing a joint tutorial.  And NOT ALL tutorials should be joint.   Remember, in COTS, you are entering very personal and sensitive territory where feedback perhaps should not be done in front of an audience!    So, some joint tutorials are okay, but there needs to be plenty of 1-1 tutorials with the nominated GP trainer.
  4. Home Visits – get an ST3 to take an ST1 with them at the beginning and on other occasions too.  
If you have any other suggestions, let’s build up this list.  Please leave a comment below.   

The key to success

Two things are needed for success

  1. The need for the practice to be well organised
  2. The need for flexibility – there needs to be flexibility in the training timetable to enable changes to be made according to the needs of individuals.  Timetabling should also ensure that the GP trainees have the opportunity for informal contact in a normal working day.
  3. Trainer to review his or her commitments – a trainer who wants to have multiple trainees needs to redefine the ratio of education to practising medicine in their working week – perhaps education should take up 50% rather than 20% of their time. 

Please leave a comment if you have a tip, spot an error, spot something missing or have a suggestion for a web resource. And of course, if you have developed a resource of your own, please email it to me to share with others.

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