26 October 2021

A salve for GP workplace strife

Education Research TheHill

An Australian research initiative wants to hear from GP supervisors and registrars who have had a workplace dispute over any aspect of training in an effort to improve the experience.

The research comes as supervisors and registrars prepare for the RACGP and ACRRM to take back the reins of general practice training from the Department of Health.

As previously reported by TMR, the DoH’s plans for the future of general practice training spells the end of funding for RTOs, which is set to expire in mid-2023.

The latest Department of Health update on the training transition says the RACGP will soon distribute a discussion paper “providing significant detail on how they intend to deliver GP training from 2023”.

The research project, conducted by Monash University and funded by GP Supervisors Australia (GPSA) and General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), will attempt to investigate the major sources of conflict in the GP registrar-supervisor relationship, and what might work to resolve or prevent these situations.

Anyone who has either experienced or observed registrar-supervisor conflict in general practice training is invited to participate in a short online survey. In addition, there’s an option to also participate in a longer online interview with a researcher.

GPSA CEO Glen Wallace told TMR that with the transition to college training looming in the next couple of years, it was an opportune time to reflect on training relationships to determine how the program might be improved.

“GP supervisors are committed to delivering what is internationally recognised as a gold-standard general practice training. And many want to proactively contribute to ensure that we remain one of the best training systems in the world,” he said.

The survey will ask participants whether they have had any conflicts in training and ask them to select from a number of options such as giving and receiving feedback, clinical education, pay and working conditions.

Mr Wallace said ultimately, the goal was to determine the factors which were most likely to cause problems in the teaching and learning environment and how those issues might be best remedied.

“We’re hoping to identify and provide training practices with a clearer understanding of what skills they need to build into their teaching environment to help support a positive learning experience and avoid conflict getting in the way of having an effective learning experience,” he said.

And most importantly, GPSA and GPRA are looking to solve a majority of conflict at the practice level, before it is escalated to advocacy organisations for legal advice.

“Something that has escalated to a point where you need legal advice is way too late,” Mr Wallace said.

“The idea is that practices can circumvent a lot of these circumstances by acting early, being able to recognise the signs when things are going poorly, pre-empt what things are likely to lead to conflict and see what can be done to make things go smoothly.”

GP supervisors and registrars can participate in the research survey here.

COVID-19 live update