RCGP curriculum - Your views on a new GP resource

Is the GP Curriculum Centre meeting the educational needs of its users? Colin Cooper reports.

Since its launch in January 2009, the GP Curriculum Centre has been attracting a huge amount of interest.

This unique online resource at Healthcare Republic takes the RCGP curriculum for GPs in training and links each learning requirement to selected articles in our extensive archive.

Users of the GP Curriculum Centre described the site as 'very simple to access and easy to navigate' (Photograph: iStock)

Who uses it?
We initially thought that the main users would be GP registrars keen to find new ways of meeting their learning needs for the RCGP exam.

But our user feedback survey has shown that GPs at all stages of their careers are finding the GP Curriculum Centre a useful educational resource.

Of the first 86 respondents to the survey, 15 per cent described themselves as GPs in training. A further 15 per cent were recently qualified GPs, and the remainder were established GPs.

This reflects a growing recognition within the profession that the RCGP curriculum will inevitably become the basis for all future CPD and revalidation.

Indeed, 73 per cent of respondents said the centre would be a 'good' or 'excellent' resource for CPD, and 64 per cent said the same for revalidation.

Positive feedback
The comments were very positive. A typical response was: 'It's a fantastic site with recent updates and reliable learning resources'.

One GP trainer said he would be recommending the curriculum centre to his registrar, and another recognised the future potential of the initiative: 'This will grow into an incredibly helpful resource.'

When asked to rate the centre's usefulness as an educational tool, 68 per cent described it as 'good' and 22 per cent as 'excellent'. Comments included: 'An extremely comprehensive resource', 'very helpful', and 'easy to use'.

The latter was obviously an important consideration in the development of the resource, because the aim was to give the users of Healthcare Republic instant access to relevant learning materials without having to spend time searching.

Easy to navigate
We listed the links to articles within the same categories used in the RCGP curriculum, making it easy to browse and identify knowledge gaps and learning needs.

When we asked users how easy it was to navigate around the website, 86 per cent described their experience as either 'good' or 'excellent'.

Users said it was 'very simple to access and easy to navigate from article to article', and that it was 'better than a textbook'.

One GP registrar said: 'It will be useful for targeting gaps in my curriculum covering during training.'

Up-to-date articles
The articles included in the GP Curriculum Centre have been selected by GP educators and primary care experts from the thousands of articles that we have published in our primary care journals.

The lists are updated on a weekly basis, with articles ranging from case studies and pictorial diagnostic aids, to opinion pieces and clinical reviews.

So it is no surprise that more than 80 per cent of respondents to the survey described the articles they had viewed as 'relevant' and 'up to date.'

Professional development
GPs are clearly expecting to spend a growing amount of time on professional development and recording their educational activities.

When asked how often they expected to visit the GP Curriculum Centre, 10 per cent replied daily, 46 per cent said weekly and 34 per cent said monthly.

Clearly, the implementation of revalidation from April 2010 and the new CPD system proposed by the RCGP are driving the heightened interest in educational resources.

Among the respondents to our survey, 50 per cent said they were 'confident' about undertaking revalidation, while 35 per cent were 'concerned'.

Younger GPs and registrars were the most confident, believing that they could simply continue with their recently established learning habits.

The RCGP's proposed CPD system, requiring GPs to earn 50 credits a year for learning and applying knowledge in their practices, raised more concerns among users. While 43 per cent were 'confident' of achieving the necessary goals, 44 per cent were 'concerned'.

Hopefully the GP Curriculum Centre will help to reassure GPs that there are a growing number of ways to meet the challenges of CPD, revalidation and the nMRCGP exam over the coming years, at whatever stage of their career they find themselves.

Learning points

1. The GP Curriculum Centre links articles on Healthcare Republic to the RCGP curriculum.

2. The GP Curriculum Centre is relevant to GPs in training or established GPs seeking an educational resource for CPD.

3. The articles in the GP Curriculum Centre have been specially selected by GP educators.

4. The GP Curriculum Centre could be a useful tool for GPs undertaking revalidation.

  • Colin Cooper is editor-in-chief of GP newspaper and Healthcare Republic

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