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::Clinical Observership in General Practice::

How to benefit the most from the Observership.

A chance to understand the local customs and culture.

Observe the Consultation skills of the GP.

Observe Communication skills and Team work.

Exposure to Time management( how the GP maintains the appointment with patients), managing workload and observe behavioural skills.

Personal development: Request your supervisor for at least 2 appraisal meetings in order to identify your learning needs. Request your supervisor to help improve your CV and Interview skills.

Elements of Clinical governance: Try performing a clinical audit. Check with your supervisor for more information on Evidence Based Medicine, Clinical risk management, Clinical effectiveness and other clinical issues of interests.

What you should not do as an observer?

Interfere in the GP- Patient interaction- Document important issues, clarify your doubts after the patient leaves the consultation room.

Argue with your GP: Never ever argue with your GP on any clinical issue. If you have a difference of opinion, then raise it at an appropriate time after consultation concludes.

Refuse to leave the consultation room: If the patient objects to your presence, then your GP may ask you to leave the consultation room for the case. Do not get offended, as patient has right to privacy. Leave the room politely.

What you cannot expect from observership in a general practice ?

  • Exposure to emergency treatments, ward rounds and theatre duties.
  • "Out of hours" experience.
  • Speciality cases- One cannot choose to stick to a speciality of choice like paediatrics, surgery or O&G.
  • Expect to land in a locum, SHO posts, supernumerary post or honorary post in the same or other general practice - GP Locums can only be done by fully qualified GPs, and there are no SHO posts in General practice outside of F2 rotations.

Other tips:

Dress code: Smart / formal

Log book: Check with the local practice. Try maintaining a log book

Duration of observership: At least 4 weeks depending on the local practice.

Audit: Check with your supervisor GP if you could be involved in a clinical audit.

A clinical audit however simple gives you invaluable exposure to audit principles and adds weight to your CV.

Author: Dr. Shahida Parveen Azeez, Clinical Observer at The Project Surgery, London


Clinical attachment and UK referees.

Clinical attachment blues- Competition in obtaining observership.


Difficulty in obtaining clinical obserership.




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