A registrar survival guide ... surviving your first solo

Introduce yourself
Make sure the patient knows who you are. Many patients find the attitude and enthusiasm of a GP registrar refreshing and may decide to see you again, allowing continuity of care.

Keep an open mind
When taking the history, listen keenly for any indications of acute or indeed worsening chronic illness. Remember that mental illness is common and be ready to ask about mood, stress and anxiety.

Don't be shy
If you are unsure, ask for help while the patient is still in the surgery. It is awkward, confusing and often embarrassing to have to contact them afterwards to alter your management plan.

Give lifestyle advice
The partners will be delighted if you earn them quality points, so consider adding simple lifestyle measurements to consultations, such as height and weight, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Guard against litigation
GPs constantly face the threat of complaints or litigation. If it isn't in the notes, it didn't happen, so taking careful notes is a good habit to start with.

Make sure the patient knows how to contact the practice, out-of-hours service or A&E if there is a problem.

Brief your patient
A key goal of general practice care is the safe 'disposal' of the patient. Ensure that, on leaving your consulting room, the patient has a clear picture of their management and the reasons for it.

Dr Barney Tinsley is a salaried GP in Bradford


  • A welcoming smile.
  • Lifestyle advice leaflets.
  • Diet sheets.
  • Patient notes.
  • Management plans.
  • A listening ear.


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