Why Train GPs: Dr Colleen Bradford

With 25 years experience in medical education, Dr Colleen Bradford shares her medical education journey and what she loves most about what she does.

Why did you choose a career in medical education?

My medical education journey began in 1992. I was working in the military and providing medical education to our medics and other medical staff. Towards the end of my time in the military, I heard about a job in medical education with the RACGP, where I received my GP fellowship. I applied for the job and was successful. Now it’s almost been 20 years that I’ve been working in medical education!

I come from a family of teachers so I guess you could say that teaching is in my blood. I think I was drawn to it because of my experiences, talents and interests.

What do you love most about your role as Clinical Director of Training at WAGPET?

Lots of things! I love the contact with the GP registrars. It is so rewarding to see them plan their career and come to understand how the components of their training translates to real life general practice. I also like my involvement with the GP supervisors. They are very smart, so they keep you on your toes.

I work with a great group of people at WAGPET. We work well together and I think our new structure allows us to provide a better service to our GP registrars, supervisors and training facilities. I love the opportunities that working at WAGPET offers - I get to go out there and find out what is going on in the GP workforce. I also get to visit our practices in rural WA.

What would you say is the biggest challenge of working in medical education?

I think the biggest challenge lies with the GP supervisor. It can be very challenging to juggle the priority of providing care to their own patients whilst providing support, education and supervision to their GP registrars.

What advice would you give to someone new working in medical education?

It is important that GP supervisors remember that their GP registrars are adults and they are not their parents. It isn’t wise to take on their problems as that can lead to supervisor burn out. At the Lindisfarne Medical Group, we rotate the role of principal supervisor to prevent burn out.

Are you a WAGPET GP registrar or supervisor who wants to share their story? Get in touch with us at marketing@wagpet.com.au.

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