A registrar survival guide - Time keeping

Dr Hamed Khan has tips on how to keep your day manageable and in running order

Devise a 'jobs list' at the start of the day
It is frustrating when, 15 minutes before surgery, you remember you have a home visit to do, or you find out you have been assigned a huge pile of repeat prescriptions to check. Be proactive; check all the duty rotas at the start of the day and plan ahead.

Know the computer system
For new registrars, primary care computer systems may seem very different to hospital computer systems. Before you start seeing patients, spend some time familiarising yourself with your practice's system to save time (and embarrassment) during your consultations.

Know your territory
The 10-minute consultation is difficult to master so the last thing you want to do with your valuable time is search for fit notes, urine dipsticks and BP machines.

Make a list of essential items and find out where they are kept. Try to keep as much as possible in your room to avoid wasting time.

Ask for help
There will be days when you are overloaded with work. As tempting as it is to heroically struggle on, it can be counterproductive as work piles up and tiredness sets in. Try to anticipate this early on and speak to your trainer so they can help you prioritise.

Keep some lifelines to hand
Even the best trainees encounter difficult consultations. Keep some reference guides handy, such as the Oxford Handbook of General Practice, and helpful websites saved on your computer desktop.

Know exactly which consultation room your trainer is in and know their direct telephone number. Avoiding asking for help inevitably results in frustration for your patient and yourself.

  • Contributed by Dr Hamed Khan, a GP registrar in Croydon, Surrey.
Essentials Checklist
  • Time to prepare before surgery starts.
  • A 'jobs list' at the start of each day.
  • A good understanding of the practice's computer system.
  • Essential equipment close at hand.
  • Useful resources, including the location and number of your trainer.
  • An ability to ask for help.

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