Teaching and Supervising Doctors in Training

As the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program is based on an apprenticeship model, the experience, supervision and teaching that you provide registrars during their general practice placements is the mainstay of their training.

Teaching and Supervising Doctors in Training

Teaching and Supervision

Although often spoken of together supervision and teaching are two different, although overlapping, components of the GP Trainer role.


This component includes:

  • Delivery of formal and informal (opportunistic or corridor) practice based teaching
  • Consultation review and feedback
  • Procedural and essential skills training.

There are many useful resources for teaching available, from the ACRRM and RACGP curricula to WAGPET eLearning.


This component focuses on:

  • Accessibility and availability for support and the informal teaching,
  • Monitoring of patient load to ensure appropriate volume and variety for the doctor in training’s experience
  • Ensuring adequate time for learning
  • Supporting the doctor in training to plan their learning
  • Providing formal and informal assessment and feedback.
The GP Supervisor’s Responsibilities

To meet supervision and training responsibilities the GP trainer must:

  • Ensure the doctor in training receives a comprehensive orientation to the training practice at the start of their placement
  • Provide the appropriate level of on-site supervision for the doctor in training’s level of training*
  • Provide the appropriate level of in-Practice teaching for the doctor in training’s level of training*[k1] 
  • Assist the GP registrar to develop a learning plan by week four of their placement and to regularly monitor progress toward achieving the set learning objectives during weekly teaching sessions
  • Develop a teaching program which aims to meet the learning objectives of the GP registrar by maximising the learning opportunities available in the practice
  • Undertake a formative assessment review in consultation with the GP registrar mid-way and on completion of every six-month placement
  • Ensure the doctor in training is released to attend the WAGPET education program (central and regional)*
  • Ensure the doctor in training is released to complete their on line compulsory education requirements.
  • Ensure External Clinical Teaching Visits are undertaken during the GP registrar placement*

As outlined in the Summary of Requirements for GP Training (under review)

You may like to review Simon Morgan’s (2005) Reflection on the multiple roles of a GP supervisor – A Balancing Act.

Doctors in Training Curricula

Both ACRRM and the RACGP have a curriculum for AGPT training. Each identifies the knowledge and skills required for a registrar to be competent to practice unsupervised anywhere in Australia. In addition both colleges have curricula for Advanced Skills training, as well as identifying practical/procedural skills required for general practice.

These are useful documents to help:

You can explore these documents in detail:

Please contact the RACGP to request the following documents:

  • RACGP Curriculum for Australian General Practice
  • RACGP Advanced Rural Skills Training Curriculum Statements
  • RACGP Essential Skills Log
Practice Based Teaching

Practice based teaching can be formal or informal (corridor or opportunistic) and practice centred (focused on what practice and doctors specifically offers) or learner centred (identified by the learners needs).

The requirements at each training level are outlined in the Summary of Requirements for General Practice Training (under review).

To ensure that registrars receive the required hours of teaching, supervisors are encouraged to have a structured approach and plan for the in-practice education sessions. There should be a good balance between practice centred teaching and learner centred teaching.

Practice centred Learner centred
Identify unique aspects of your practice and plan for the registrar to experience these. Use the clinical skills and expertise of other GPs and clinical staff in your practice.  Identify the registrar’s experience, competence, strengths and needs by talking with them and reviewing any documented needs assessments (e.g. Personal Education matrix, patient logs, MCQ and EMQ questions, patient surveys and ECT visit reports)
This reduces the formal teaching load of the supervisor and provides the registrar with a breadth of experience and a broader group of clinicians to seek advice from during their placement This means that a proportion of the practice based teaching will be different for each registrar! 

Remember to talk through the teaching plans to ensure that both yourself and your registrar are agreed on how, where and when the teaching will take place.

Planning Term Learning

Planning term learning has the following aims:

  • Encourage registrars to use a variety of tools to plan their learning
  • Identify learning needs and strengths of the registrar
  • Assist registrars to plan how to use their learning strengths and needs as identified

As a supervisor you are in the ideal position to support the registrar in planning their learning:

  • Engage your registrar early in the term
  • Take a proactive approach, don’t just relying on the opportunistic learning from patients
  • Repeat the process at least a further two times in the term as the registrar achieves their goals
  • Assist them to build on their knowledge and skills

Tools which can be used by the registrar to plan their learning include:

Resources for Teaching

College resource recommendations

  • Both ACRRM and the RACGP recommend a number of textbooks and reference material for registrar training which are available on loan through the WAGPET library or your rural GP network.
    • ACRRM recommended textbooks and reference material
    • RACGP recommended textbooks and reference material

WAGPET resources

  • WAGPET eLearning is an online password protected resource that provides you and the practice with access to a wealth of resource material including subscription journals, library of educational resources, models and teaching materials.

Your Practice library

  • WAGPET also provides each new practice with a series of resources for the practice library.

In addition WAGPET provides each new practice with:

  • Video camera, tripod, wide angle lens and flash memory card for consultation review

Webcam and headset for virtual classroom access. 

Overview of Consultation Review

It is important that during training the supervisor reviews the registrar’s patient consultations. This must be done separately to External Clinical Teaching Visits. This can be directly or indirectly.
1. Direct consultation review

  • Direct observation - supervisor sits in on consultations with the doctor in training.
  • Video observation - The registrar videos a number of consultations and reviews these with the supervisor.

2. Indirect consultation review

  • Random case review
  • Audit of patient cases
  • Patient survey and review of results
  • Practice doctor and staff feedback – nurses, receptionist and other staff if applicable

Direct Consultation Review – In-Practice Requirements

WAGPET expects supervisors to include both direct and in-direct consultation review as part of normal in practice teaching.

WAGPET encourages the use of direct observation and video consultation review. 

  Video consultation review requirement
Basic term  (GPT1/PPR1) Total  ≥5 video consultation reviews each semester
Undertaken over at least 2 separate occasions in the semester
Advanced term  (GPT2/PPR2) Total  ≥5 video consultation reviews each semester
Undertaken over at least 2 separate occasions in the semester
Subsequent term  (GPT3/PPR3) Encouraged
GP extended skills or PPR4 No formal requirement

Video Equipment in the Practice

WAGPET provides video cameras to all accredited Level 1 Training as they join the WAGPET training program. If you are a Level 2 practice and wish to use video, or a Level 1 practice and require more equipment because of registrar numbers, equipment may be borrowed from the WAGPET.

The equipment provided by WAGPET becomes the practice’s property for the specific purpose of teaching and learning.  As such the practice is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of the video camera equipment (replacement value).

Remember that a patient consent form should be completed by each patient prior to the consultation being filmed.

ACRRM registrars are required have consultation review throughout their training. As an aid for feedback ACRRM encourages the use of the ACRRM MiniCEX. Registrars undergoing ACCRM training require a minimum of 6 Mini CEX reviews.

Training for Consultation Review and Feedback

Supervisor training in consultation review and feedback is considered a core component of the Trainer Education Framework. New supervisors must attend this training within their first two years of taking on the role.

Feedback and Assessment

Mid and end of terms assessments

  • Formal assessment of your registrar’s performance
    • Part of the performance monitoring of the doctor in training
    • Valuable for the doctor for focused individual feedback and learning planning
    • Opportunity to identifying if any more intensive support or supervision is required
  • Completed through WAGPET eLearning
  • Your registrar will have direct access to the completed assessment through WAGPET eLearning

In order to complete this assessment appropriately, supervisors are encouraged to have multiple sources of information about the registrar. For ACRRM registrars you may also have the data from their Multi-Source Feedback (MSF) to consider.

As the aim of the midterm assessment is a formative or appraisal type process, it is recommended that supervisors discuss the assessment with the registrar and include this as one of the in practice education sessions.

The end of term assessment combines both a formative (appraisal) process as well as acting a summative process, which informs WAGPET if the registrar is progressing as expected through the training program. Although there is a summative assessment component you are strongly encouraged to discuss the assessment with the registrar and include this as an in-practice education session.

Remediation and Interventions

WAGPET’s primary goal is to ensure registrars participate in a high quality training program that supports and prepares them for a future in general practice. It is critical that any issues or concerns about a registrar’s wellbeing or progress are identified early, and action is taken to assess and intervene appropriately.

Potential issues are often multifactorial and there are a number of WAGPET and practice based processes in place to deal with any issues.

In some instances immediate intervention may be required.  As the supervisor you must contact WAGPET immediately to ensure appropriate intervention is planned and implemented as soon as possible. 

WAGPET, in conjunction with the supervisor, determines whether a registrar requires specific intervention in either (or both) categories of performance – professional behaviour or personal health.

An intervention may take a number of different forms, dependent on the registrar’s identified professional and health needs. Wherever possible the supervisor and the practice will be involved in the delivery of any intervention for the registrar. WAGPET will provide additional support (this may be educational or financial) as required.

You may like to review the Focussed Intervention Learning Plan template.

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