Getting work

A practical guide for the budding undergraduate teacher

GP Liza Kirtchuk gives her personal view on how you can get involved with undergraduate training

Whilst GP partners might have well-established teaching arrangements, sessional and salaried GPs can face barriers when exploring their options for undergraduate teaching.

Below are a few case studies demonstrating how sessional GPs can get involved.

The salaried GP

Simon is a newly qualified GP doing 6 clinical sessions at his practice. He is keen to teach so has decided to take on students who will be attending the practice one afternoon a fortnight.

He has decided to do this in addition to his 6 sessions and has negotiated to receive the teaching fee directly; the practice gets a facilities fee. This gives him some extra income and doesn’t interfere with service provision, which he feels is a good compromise.

In preparation for the teaching he has attended some of the tutor development days at the medical school and is enrolled in the Introduction To Teaching in Primary Care (ITTPC) course in London.

Simon’s managed to negotiate something that works for him, but other salaried GPs might want to teach during their rostered hours, with the fee going directly to the practice. Clinical work will pay more than teaching so this can be advantageous, but it is likely the practice will want you to closely juggle teaching and service provision- be prepared for seeing patients before and after your tutorials and ensure the time that should be protected is.

Medical schools will provide guides for the level of student supervision and protected face time they expect with each module.

When applying for new posts, get the ‘flavour’ of how they feel about teaching and make your intentions clear, as you will need their support.

Simon is also taking the right steps in preparing for his teaching and medical schools will provide free teacher development sessions. In addition to ITTPC, the London Deanery offers free e-modules in a range of teaching domains.

students 3

The locum GP

Priya is a locum GP so doesn’t have a base for teaching. She is a seminar leader for the health promotion sessions at her local medical school and also does some clinical skills and OSCE sessions.

She has the flexibility to do ad hoc sessions at the medical school and it’s a good chance to meet other GPs, as she can feel isolated as a locum.

She is looking into participating in a pilot at the medical school where a practice selects appropriate patients and she comes in to provide the teaching at their surgery. This gives her some chance to do teaching in a clinical setting.

Being a locum GP doesn’t mean you can’t teach, but it might affect the types of teaching you do. Locums have the advantage of flexibility and short notice availability on their side, allowing them to access a diversity of campus-based teaching.

The pilot mentioned above reflects the arrangements that some medical schools have in place- it is worth enquiring locally.

students 2

The teaching fellow

Sally is a GP teaching fellow at her local medical school. This is a commitment of 5 sessions, which she balances with her 4 clinical sessions.

She has protected time for teaching both at the practice and on campus, and is part of the GP educational team at the medical school. Here she takes part in a wide range of educational activities such as curriculum development and research.

She is going to be presenting some of her research at an upcoming conference. She is doing a postgraduate certificate in medical education and is considering whether she might pursue this to Masters level and look for a more substantive education job.

Sally has made a bigger commitment to medical education and these posts are a great step towards developing a career in education. Many medical schools offer such posts, though they may not come around that frequently. If interested it is worth making contact with the departments to express an interest and find out about upcoming posts.

Enquire about the personal specifications they would be looking for, so that you can develop your CV effectively.

Keeping tabs on NHS jobs, social media and establishing contact with the right people will ensure you hear about these posts when they come out.

students 1

Dr Liza Kirtchuk
Salaried GP and Senior Tutor for Phases 3 & 4, Kings Undergraduate Medical Education in the Community (KUMEC).
I am an early career GP doing 4 sessions of salaried work with 4 sessions at Kings College Medical School, as well as the occasional locum and OOH shift.

See also GP Aman Arora on Medical Education – a great career for a GP


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