24 November 2020

In Conversation with Dr Jan Hanson


Q:  What is an ECT visit?

A:  ECTV stands for External Clinical Teaching Visit. 

Q:  Tell me more…

A:  ECTVs are unique to Australian GP training and have been a mandatory component nationally since the 1990s.  The ECTV remains highly rated as an educational tool by Registrars and Medical Educators, augmenting in-practice teaching, and are a useful formative assessment tool.  The ECTV can also provide peer support for the Supervisor and their practice.

Q:  What happens during an ECTV?

A:  The ECT visitor (either a medical educator or a Supervisor from another practice) spends a half-day session “sitting in”, observing consultations and providing feedback to the Registrar.  Ideally the visitor, Registrar and Supervisor also have the opportunity to discuss learning needs and goals together.  This is followed by a written report, reinforcing the feedback and learning goals.   The formative assessment outcome does not determine whether the registrar can advance through training but provides the registrar, supervisor, and NTGPE with feedback regarding how they are progressing in training.

Q:  What do you like about doing ECTVs?

A:  Though it can be anxiety provoking to have someone observe your clinical work, ECTVs often generate powerful learning experiences, individualised to the learner, and identify areas for improvement in a supportive environment.  I enjoy the enthusiasm of working with newer graduates, and  appreciate the collegiality, the opportunity to develop a relationship 1:1 with the registrars and help fine-tune their learning.  Sometimes just a few small changes can help them be significantly more effective in their clinical work, and that is an incredibly rewarding thing to be involved in.  It’s also an opportunity for me to reflect on my own practice and performance; I always learn something from these visits to take back into my own clinical work.  As a more experienced GP, doing ECTVs has helped me “deconstruct” my day to day consultations, consider what works well and what I can do to be more effective.  On a more personal level, I thrive on variety and enjoy visiting places and meeting people across NT.

Q:  What advice would you give to a Supervisor contemplating doing ECT visits?

A:  Do it!  You will be able to contribute to the professional development of committed Registrars, as well as improve your own skills while enjoying a change from your usual day to day clinical work.  NTGPE provides introductory training and mentoring for new ECT visitors.