When you’re the boss


I once had an amazing GP trainer, and these are the qualities that made him so:



‘Any time young sir’

I could ask him questions whenever I wanted.

In the middle of a surgery.

At the end.

In his admin time.

By phone or text.


It’s so reassuring to know you always have support.



‘That’s O.K…you wont do that next time’

Feedback is vital to improve your performance.

And I don’t mean feedback on your straightforward and simple consultations for URTi.

No I mean feedback on your horrendous mistakes, on those ridiculous errors and those disastrous consultations.

This is where the feedback is really beneficial.


But I could only ask him for feedback, on my less than perfect consultations, because I trusted him.

You should be able to tell your boss…

 – I saw an elderly lady with trembling that I thought was due to anxiety, when in fact it was rigors with a WCC of 18 and CRP of 200.

 – I was measuring HbA1c to look for possible diabetes, not knowing it would miss it, if symptoms had only been present for a few weeks.

 – I got really [insert expletive] after a patient refused my diagnosis that he had a viral illness, and felt pathetic that I caved in to his demands to prescribe antibiotics.


The feedback makes you better…because you wont do that next time.



Advising…not telling

Sometimes he gave clear cut black and white answers.

But other times, simply provided me with a range of options, and told me what he would do…but that other doctors may choose something else.

Was open and honest that this was his opinion, but doesn’t mean that his way, was the only way.



‘What did you want to do today’ ?

He asked me what I wanted to do for the teaching sessions, rather than bore me to death with his own agenda.

And if he wanted to teach a particular topic e.g. consultation models, he would tell me.

Once he asked ‘Shall we see some patients together today?’…and I said ‘No thanks, I’ve got some queries from patients I saw last week.’…and he said ‘Fine’.

Flexibility is cool. Being as stiff as a rigid sigmoidoscope, is not.




If your training someone up to be the next generation of general practitioner…you should know your stuff.

If you don’t, then stop volunteering for the role…and find some other way to boost your income.



‘That went alright’

Even when I had a rubbish consultation, he always managed to find out some good points.



Telling me off in a nice way

I once ignored a crying lady in the consultation (it’s a long story, give me a break).

After she left, he said ‘it’s normally a good thing to ask why their crying’ … in a half joking manner.

I got the message and didn’t feel like a piece of s%#t.

He says there is no place in the workplace for shouting at people.

Its unacceptable.

It’s just not productive.

So if you ever make your trainee cry with your feedback, your probably in the wrong.

p.s. if your brave enough to check if you have a problem, here’s a test.


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