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Curtain Closing for Long Term Supervisor

 

Hubert Van Doorn’s life as a GP principle and main supervisor in his practice in East Brunswick has drawn to a close. Hubert is now a medical educator, and while he still consults and supervises part time to maintain his GP status, it’s not the same as before.

He moved to the NT a few weeks ago to further commit to his medical educator role at Northern Territory General Practice Education. “I do have both a sense of achievement and loss having developed strong relationships with my patients, our registrars and my colleagues.”

We so often focus on the recruitment and training of GP supervisors, but what does it feel like to come out the other end? Were the promises of satisfying, two-way learning realised for Hubert?

“Yes” he says confidently.

“It is demanding and there are challenges but it is frankly enjoyable. I often hear supervisors say ‘I don’t know how I ever worked without them’. Registrars certainly improve your overall effectiveness because you’re constantly involved in a dialogue about providing the best health outcomes”.

According to Hubert there are three levels of benefit, apart from the direct benefits to the registrar’s themselves.

1. The patients. It is my experience that patients do embrace and value interaction with younger doctors.
2. The supervisor. Having registrars in practice requires experienced supervisors to stop and think about what they do. Having an enquiring colleague by your side makes you stop and think and that directly relates to improved patient care.
3. The whole practice. The whole practice engages with and support our registrars. We all benefit. It has been especially rewarding to share the teaching and supervision with my co-supervisor.

Hubert’s practice became accredited as a training organisation in 2013 and while he mentored and supervised many junior doctors throughout his career, he formally became a supervisor at his practice then. When asked, what Hubert would have done differently his response is clear. “I would have liked it if we had become a training practice sooner than we did”.

Is medical education a natural next step for supervisors? “For me it is. I’m still passionate about general practice and GP training. The NT provides a different environment to both learn within and contribute to, at the same time. I still love seeing the world through the eyes of registrars. When you work alongside a good registrar it’s like gold”.