In the increasingly competitive world of general practice, there is an emphasis on shifting many services out of hospitals and into primary care. More employers and GP partners are looking for applicants with the skills to help their business or practice capitalise on these changes.
It is therefore important for GPs to highlight all of their skills and experience on their CV if they are to stand out. These tips could boost your CV and enhance your professional profile.
1. Minor surgery
Many practices provide minor surgery as an enhanced service. Being able to undertake this role not only makes you more attractive to employers it also allows you to provide a quality service and continuity of care in the practice.
Contact your local GP tutor, deanery or dermatology service to find out about courses.
The Primary Care Dermatology Society website is also a useful place to start (see resources).
2. Become a trainer
Being involved in registrar training can help you keep up to date and also brings modest financial incentives. If you are interested in taking on a training role first, discuss this within the practice before expressing an interest to your deanery.
Many deaneries have structured training programmes for those wanting to become trainers. If you are uncertain this is right for you, teaching medical students or mentoring foundation doctors can provide a good introduction.
3. Joint injections
Providing joint injections is another useful skill. Although evidence for joint injections is mixed, it saves referrals to hospital. In an average-sized practice, you may be the only one providing this service so it can be a valuable skill. There are many courses available, so ask the education lead for your area.
4. Develop a special interest
Developing a special interest based on your background or an area you find interesting and stimulating can not only boost your chances of a successful application, it can also be professionally fulfilling.
Some of the common options include taking a diploma in dermatology or a certificate in palliative care.
Developing a special interest can help to reduce referral rates for the practice, provide a quality service at the surgery and bring skill mix to the practice team.
5. Sexual health diploma
The diploma of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (DFSRH), along with letters of competence in subdermal implant and IUD insertion, are useful primary care qualifications that potential employers will appreciate.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare has full details about the DFSRH on its website (see resources).
6. Other qualifications
Taking the diploma from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as an additional qualification is worth considering, especially for female trainees who are likely to receive requests for family planning and gynaecological advice throughout their career.
The diploma in child health is another useful qualification.Both diplomas take a significant amount of time and preparation to achieve - see resources for more details.
7. Medical politics
Becoming involved in medical politics, especially at a local level, can give you a different perspective along with the opportunity to have your say and influence local policy.
It is never too early to become involved and there is generally lower representation of younger GPs within LMCs. Being involved in politics can bring benefits to your practice as you will learn about any potential changes before they are rolled out.
8. Undertake audits
In recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on audit, clinical governance and reflective practice.
Evidence of an interest and active involvement can give you an edge. A sound knowledge of the computer software involved, such as EMIS, is important. There are many books and courses available on the subject, but auditing current practice, prescription patterns and referrals, for example, will not only stand you in good stead for appraisal and revalidation, it will also demonstrate to employers your efforts to constantly improve your practice.
9. Understand the QOF
Having a grasp of the QOF, the GMS contract and the intricacies of how a practice runs is essential.
Although this is a part of a GP's training, there is a general perception that newly qualified GPs lack knowledge in this area.
This can be a cause for concern for potential employers, therefore evidence of knowledge and participation in QOF throughout your training, along with attendance at relevant educational events and courses can be just what you need to have 'that bit extra' on your CV.
10. Develop management skills
There are many courses available to help you understand the principles behind effective leadership and management.
Skills in these areas are vital in modern general practice, especially with so much emphasis on efficiency savings, restructuring and looming funding cuts.
Demonstrating active interest and involvement in management can go a long way to reassuring employers or partners about your ability to contribute effectively to the team.
- Dr Sidhu is a GP partner in north-east England
- This topic falls under section 1 of the RCGP curriculum 'Being a GP'
1. Ensure your CV highlights all of your skills and relevant experience.
2. Enrol on a course to develop new skills.
3. Consider a new area of interest - even something non-clinical such as politics.
4. Demonstrate that you are interested and involved.