Dr Richard Try recently received a recognition of service award from GPSA recognising his work over 10 years as a GP supervisor. Dr Richard previously worked in supervision of junior doctors, students and registrars at The Medical Clinic in Millicent SA, before moving to Ferrers Medical Clinic (Mt Gambier) from 2011-2016. Following this, he opened his own practice, the Dr Try Medical Clinic in Mt Gambier, SA. where he has worked ever since and supervised registrars.
The GPSA reward and recognition program recognises the hard work and dedication of GP supervisors. If you are are a GP supervisor with over 10 years of supervising experience, we would like to recognise your dedication to nurturing the next generation of family practitioners. To nominate, you must be accredited by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and/or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) to train GP registrars engaged within the Australian General Practice Training program.
Nominated GP supervisors will receive:
To nominate a GP supervisor or yourself please click the button below
What rewards do you feel you have gained from GP Supervision ?
The biggest reward is the satisfaction of seeing registrars develop and qualify to become fully fledged GPs and provide independent care. Seeing the joy (and sometimes relief) when they pass their exam results is very rewarding.
It is also a way of giving back to the profession. Each one of us was trained and some of us had better experiences than others while training. Training GPs is my way, I think, of giving back for the supervision I benefitted from.
Do you feel that you learn from GP Registrars also? If so, what type of things have you learnt?
Yes, in many ways, supervision is a 2 way street: Registrars have usually just come from hospital posts and so are very up to date and capable. I feel I need to stay very up to date to keep up with them. Often they will help with this and present at clinic meetings to update us all.
I also have to adjust how I supervise and teach to fit the needs of each registrar. No two are the same, so I have had to learn how to adapt and identify areas of concern that they might not even know themselves and then help them develop these areas.
They also help me examine my own approach to medicine in terms of consultation skills and to the job as a whole. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut but supervising registrars helps keep us fresh and enthusiastic. There is nothing like teaching to give you insight into your own practice.
Working in a regional centre, do you feel there are additional challenges for GP supervision? If so what type of challenges have you experienced?*
Lack of a local support network for GP Supervision is the main one. We don’t have anyone local that we can call upon as there is no local support network for us. At the moment, the ME for our area is based in Adelaide, 450km away. I joined GPSA to try and fill this gap.
Retention of registrars is also an issue. Often registrars have to leave the clinic just when we are getting used to them and this can be frustrating for the clinic and patients. There is a regional recruitment and retention crisis and registrars moving on adds to this. Patients are sometimes reluctant to see a registrar as they feel they won’t stay. The first question a new GP often gets asked by patients is “are you staying?” I think this can put the registrar in an awkward position and we have to counsel them on how to answer it.
When we get the registrar for their second attachment, they rarely stay beyond 1-2 years, if at all. The city seems to call them all and there is no flow of qualified doctors back. Sometimes it can feel we are putting a lot of effort in for no reward but we have to temper this with the reward of seeing newly qualified GPs spread their wings and know that there will be other communities that will benefit from them.
Ultimately, we do this job to train new GPs not to recruit to the clinic however much we would like them to stay.
How has GPSA Supported you as a GP Supervisor?
GPSA has a wealth of guides and teaching plans. We all have our different experiences and sometimes might need resources to help teach an area that we have less experience in than others. I have found the resources very useful in this respect including in supporting registrars who might be struggling.
What would you say to others considering becoming a GP supervisor?
Do it – you won’t regret it. It provides variety to our work and keeps us fresh and enthusiastic. It can be very rewarding seeing a struggling registrar develop into an independent GP.