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Checklist to discuss with your trainer

Post date: 30/09/2015 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 14/11/2018

GP and Clinical Advisor at BMJ Quality Dr Mareeni Raymond shares her checklist to help you get the most out of meetings with your trainer.

  1. You
    Share what you feel confident in and what you would like more experience in.
  2. Tutorials
    Have in mind what you want to discuss before each tutorial, eg, would you like to discuss patients, have a case-based discussion (CBD) or undertake a clinical evaluation exercise (CEX)? Make sure you have a regular meeting with your trainer to see how your objectives are going, and to discuss either difficult patients or problem areas.
  3. Teaching
    There are usually teaching activities in a practice, so make sure you attend them. Ask about any other practice meetings you are encouraged to attend, eg, community matrons and district nurses may organise meetings to discuss patients for whom they need input.
  4. Audit or other practice development
    Most trainees have to do an audit, and general practice is a good opportunity for this, as there is a wealth of easily accessible information in the patient records. Discuss this with your trainer, suggesting topics that would be helpful for the practice. 
  5. Supervision
    Find out where you will be, when, and who will be supervising you. Set goals with your trainer and find out what level of supervision you will have. It is very important to practise safe medicine, so don’t be ‘gung ho’ about your patient management.
  6. Timetable
    Your clinics often start as half-hour appointments, later changing to shorter and shorter time periods when you are ready. Ask when your consultation timings will change, and whether you will have breaks.
  7. Always get advice, don't work outside your competence
    Your trainer is there to guide you – this is how you will learn. There is usually a doctor you can get advice from while in clinic by waiting until the end of their consultation or surgery. At the start of the placement, it may be more useful to run through every surgery with your supervising doctor afterwards. You may be asked to see patients for home visits, speak to patients on the phone, help with on-calls. Here the same rules apply: always ask for advice when you are not sure.
  8. Child protection and basic life support
    Find out if you will get this training in your placement; if so, this is a good opportunity to get this training signed off.
  9. Keep a logbook
    Discuss how best to keep a logbook. This is an effective way of keeping track of your investigations, patients you want to discuss or follow up, etc. This can help in what can become a very busy, patient-heavy rotation. Remember to keep entries anonymous.
  10. Have coffee breaks with other staff if possible
    Find out if and when there is a coffee break for staff to socialise. 

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