A registrar survival guide ... shadowing practice staff

Get organised
It is common to start the registrar year spending some time shadowing practice staff to see how the team works. Obtain a timetable from the practice so that you know where you are expected to be and with whom so that you can organise your day.

Plan ahead
Meet with your trainer to discuss what you are expected to take away from your time shadowing. Make a list of learning needs so that you have something to work towards.

Typical people you will spend time with are receptionists, district nurses, health visitors and the practice manager and nurse. Think about their roles beforehand and questions you might ask them about their jobs.

Learn from experience
Use the experience to improve certain aspects of your clinical skills.

For example, the health visitors can teach you a lot about child development assessment and the practice nurse can teach you about diabetic neurovascular checks.

The business side of general practice is very important and always comes up somewhere in the MRCGP. Talk to the practice manager and try to understand how the books are balanced.

Get involved
Rather than just observing people in their jobs, try to get involved as well. Do a developmental check or learn to dress a wound. You will get more out of it this way and will be able to incorporate it into your own practice.

Find out what each professional expects from you as a doctor. Make a note of your experiences and what you have learnt.

Dr Lizzie Croton is a GP registrar in Birmingham


  • Practice timetable.
  • Notebook.
  • Staff organogram.
  • Your business head.
  • Appraisal folder.


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