Sole principal of Hallett Cove Corner Surgery Chris Jenkins became a GP supervisor 16 years ago to help boost “manpower” at the practice.
However, she soon found she relished the teaching role and her motivation shifted for continuing supervision at her South Australian clinic.
“I enjoy it; it’s fun” Chris said of her long-time commitment to training “the profession’s future workforce”.
Chris recently received a Recognition of service Award (16-20 Years) from General Practice Supervisors Australia.
How many registrars has she trained?
“Many,” Chris, 57, said. “There is always a GPT1 each year, plus often others full-time and part-time and a GPT2 and above.”
With large numbers of young doctors under her mentorship, Chris admits occasionally there have been “challenging registrars”. However, overall she said the teaching journey had been enjoyable and encouraged other GPs to become supervisors.
As is the case for many supervisors, Chris finds the rewards are twofold for registrar and supervisor.
“The registrar gains real life knowledge of being a GP, as well as life balance and of course clinical education and experience,” Chris said.
“It’s fun. I get to meet many new registrars, be a part of their life and help them pass exams.
“You get to influence the way they practice and influence their lives.
“My teaching skills have improved and I have improved at giving feedback. I enjoy teaching one-on-one but I still do not enjoy public speaking.”
Supervising new junior doctors each year presented work-flow challenges when needing to “take time out from patients” Chris said, but the teaching role also added variety to her clinical work.
“It breaks up your day so you are not just seeing patients.
“Supervising registrars also gives us access to new doctors coming through and enables us to increase the number of doctors in our workforce.
“Two of our current doctors were former registrars within our clinic.”
Beyond sharing medical knowledge, Chris also enjoys discussing footy if her registrar happens to be an Aussie rules fan.
The passionate Port Adelaide supporter recalled how wearing her club colours to a medical training event inadvertently attracted one particular registrar to train at Hallett Cove Corner Surgery.
“I was wearing my Port Adelaide clothes and this registrar chose to come and work in my practice because of that!
“On another occasion, I had a registrar who was going to watch her partner play in a country footy final at Peake in South Australia.
“I said I would go and watch too. I also wanted to support her in case anything happened and she was asked to help. At half-time there were three GPs in the change rooms; you wouldn’t get that many at an AFL match.”
Chris has also unofficially educated two of her five adult children who have chosen medicine as a career path; Sally, an RMO at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Rebecca, a second-year university medical student.