Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Maintaining capacity for in-practice teaching and supervision of students and general practice trainees: a cross-sectional study of early career general practitioners

Nigel Catzikiris A B , Amanda Tapley A B , Simon Morgan A , Elizabeth G. Holliday B C , Jean Ball C , Kim Henderson A B , Taryn Elliott D , Neil Spike E F , Cathy Regan B and Parker Magin A B G
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A GP Synergy NSW and ACT Research and Evaluation Unit, 20 McIntosh Drive, Mayfield West, NSW 2304, Australia. Email: nigel_catzikiris@gpsynergy.com.au; amanda_tapley@gpsynergy.com.au; kim_henderson@gpsynergy.com.au; simon_morgan@gpsynergy.com.au

B School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. Email: cathy.regan@newcastle.edu.au

C Public Health Research Program, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Locked Bag 1000, New Lambton, NSW 2305, Australia. Email: Elizabeth.Holliday@hmri.com.au; Jean.Ball@hmri.com.au

D Discipline of General Practice, University of Adelaide, 183 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia. Email: taryn.elliott@adelaide.edu.au

E Eastern Victoria GP Training, 15 Cato Street, Hawthorn, Vic. 3122, Australia. Email: neil.spike@evgptraining.com.au

F Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, 200 Berkeley Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: parker.magin@newcastle.edu.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16285
Submitted: 14 December 2016  Accepted: 18 June 2017   Published online: 10 August 2017

Abstract

Objectives Expanding learner cohorts of medical students and general practitioner (GP) vocational trainees and the impending retirement of the ‘baby boomer’ GP cohort threaten the teaching and supervisory capacity of the Australian GP workforce. Engaging newly qualified GPs is essential to sustaining this workforce training capacity. The aim of the present study was to establish the prevalence and associations of in-practice clinical teaching and supervision in early career GPs.

Methods The present study was a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study of recent (within 5 years) alumni of three of Australia’s 17 regional general practice training programs. The outcome factor was whether the alumnus taught or supervised medical students, GP registrars or other learners in their current practice. Logistic regression analysis was used to establish associations of teaching and supervision with independent variables comprising alumnus demographics, current practice characteristics and vocational training experiences.

Results In all, 230 alumni returned questionnaires (response rate 37.4%). Of currently practising alumni, 52.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 45.6–59.0%) reported current teaching or supervisory activities. Factors significantly (P < 0.05) associated with alumni currently undertaking in-practice clinical teaching and supervision were: Australian medical graduation (odds ratio (OR) for international graduates 0.36; 95% CI 0.14–0.92), working in a regional or remote area (OR 2.75; 95% CI 1.24–6.11) and currently undertaking nursing home visits, home visits or after-hours work (OR 2.01; CI 1.02–3.94).

Conclusions Rural–urban and country-of-graduation differences in the engagement of early career GPs in practice-based apprenticeship-like teaching or training should inform strategies to maintain workforce training capacity.

What is known about the topic? Projected changes in the demand for and supply of clinical teaching and supervision within Australian general practice will require greater uptake of teaching and supervision by recently qualified GPs to ensure sustainability of this teaching model. Although interest in and undertaking of teaching roles have been documented for GP or family medicine trainees, studies investigating the engagement in these clinical roles by GPs during their early post-training period are lacking.

What does this paper add? This paper is the first to document the prevalence of teaching and supervision undertaken by early career GPs as part of their regular clinical practice. We also demonstrate associations of practice rurality, country of medical graduation and undertaking non-practice-based clinical roles with GPs’ engagement in teaching and supervisory roles.

What are the implications for practitioners? Establishing current teaching patterns of GPs enables appropriate targeting of new strategies to sustain an effective teaching and supervisory capacity within general practice. The findings of the present study suggest that exploring focused strategies to facilitate and support international medical graduates to engage in teaching during their vocational training, aided by focused supervisor support, may be of particular value.


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