How to get the best from VTS

How to get the best from VTS

How to get the best out of your VTS sessions

  • The sessions are planned for you. They help you share ideas with fellow trainees, learn with experts and qualified GPs, and cover areas of the curriculum that you may not get a chance to cover in general practice or secondary care.
  • Sessions are part of your timetabled, paid work so attendance is compulsory. You are expected to attend at least 80% of your sessions as part of your training. Please attend on time and stay for the full session; this is not only expected but courteous to your colleagues and the facilitator. If you can’t attend please email PenGPAdmin.sw@hee.nhs.ukor call 01752 590668 to let the team know why.

    If you are unable to attend due to sickness, you must also notify Medical Staffing at Derriford, as this must be recorded. You will need to complete a self-certificate sick form on your return to work, for absences up to 8 days, unless covered by a doctor’s fit note.
  • If you are hungry, uncomfortable, tired, hot or cold then you are less likely to get the most out of the session.
  • Similarly, if you have issues regarding work or home life that are distracting you, you are less able to get the most out of the session.

    If they are work issues, try and talk things through with a colleague before the session starts. Be aware that worries at home will impact on your learning so try to stay focused.
  • Take an active part in the group. Contribute and listen to others’ ideas.
  • There are many ways to learn. Everyone has their own preferred learning style. If you are planning a session, it’s very important to plan how the session is run. A lecture might be relaxing and easy to organise but people tend to learn more when the learning is interactive and related directly to work; e.g. case-based discussion.
  • It helps to take a note of what the subject is the week before so you can be thinking about specific questions and needs you may have.
  • It may help your learning if you come to the session with the question in mind ‘what do I want to learn as a result of my learning today?’ 
  • If you are unable to attend a session, do ask one of your peers about key learning points, and for copies of any handouts.
  • Don’t forget to summarise your learning in your learning log on your e-portfolio and include any unmet needs in your PDP (sometimes sessions do raise more questions than provide answers!).
  • We do read the feedback sheets and they help us to plan future sessions, so your comments are valued.

What should I do when there’s no VTS?

The following paragraph is taken from the Peninsula PGME GP Specialty Trainee FAQs page:

What should trainees do when the VTS day is not running?

The VTS teaching session on Wednesday is classed as study leave, so when it is not running the trainee should be working in the practice as part of their agreed contracted hours.

An alternative is to use the time created as formal study leave and explore an aspect of general practice. It is also possible to use the time created as in lieu in order to experience Saturday morning extended hours.

Many trainees form learning sets and usefully continue to work towards MRCGP. There is no rule and practices will differ but remember this is working time and we have to justify what we are paying for to the public.