How to annoy your GP appraiser (or: what NOT to do for appraisal)
Surina Chibber's 5 Top Tips for GP Appraisal was one of the most popular articles on the blog with over 600 GPs viewing the post, suggesting that people want more help with the process.
Today we'll look at some common pitfalls for appraisal that are easy to avoid if you programme them into your radar.
Here's what NOT to do for your appraisal:
Repeatedly postpone or cancel your appraisal
Multiple rescheduling of appraisal meetings, particularly last minute risks being seen as 'failure to engage.' Appraisers are asked to comment on how many times the appraisee postponed the appraisal.
Ignoring phone calls or emails from your appraiser may be viewed in the same way. Sorry but appraisers are not rainwater puddles that are going to just go away :-).
Most should understand family or personal crises: your child is wheezing with bronchiolitis, or (as happened to someone), the 100 year old plaster living room ceiling just came crashing down
Sign off your portfolio late
A committed appraiser could spend several hours reading this and is likely to have blocked out time. Signing off late risks annoying them and allows them less time to look at your portfolio which may mean you get less from them during the appraisal.
Let's face it, signing off your portfolio at 4 pm on Sunday when your appraisal is on Monday morning is not going to go down well, particularly if they were planning to watch Top Gear (when it was still on tv...).
Not providing evidence across the whole scope of your work
Meaning your work that requires a licence to medical practice. This means CCG work, teaching, medical leadership, TV or charity doctor or whatever – anything where you call yourself ‘doctor’.
If you run a cake stall at weekends then that doesn't go in - unless you advertise free medical advice with chocolate sponge as well.
Remember to upload your mandatory training as well.
Doing a data dump
Uploading lots presentations, handouts and multiple minutes of meetings is less relevant than describing what you learned from the activity and how you plan to apply it.
Similarly, use your own data rather than uploading a lot of practice based stuff that you haven't been involved in - unless you can reflect on what this data means for you personally.
Which brings us onto...
Fail to reflect on your portfolio
All appraisees to become reflective and wear high-vis from now on?
Seriously, this is an essential. Reflection demonstrates that you can be trusted by the GMC to maintain your fitness to practice.
What does 'being reflective' mean?
Simply that you've demonstrated thoughtful analysis of the various aspects of your work. This includes insight into learning or other development needs. Comment on the learning outcomes of the activities as to how you see yourself applying them to your work.
Reflection might also be on something went well. Saved someone's myocardium by bundling them into an ambulance? Say why it was successful and how it got to that point.
Forget to block other distractions during your appraisal
Appraisals that take place on surgery premises should be free from interruptions for questions, prescriptions, 'can you just,' 'so-and-so called back and they need to speak to you now about their blood result because they are low on credit' etc.
Always turn off your phone.
And one thing that you SHOULD do
Many appraisers love appraising because they genuinely want to meet you. Appraisal is also about you and helping you realise a personal development plan – as well as forming part of revalidation.
Only a minority of appraisees run into problems – try to remember that and take away as much as you can for yourself away from the meeting.
Best of luck with everything
Claire (GP appraiser)
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See our other articles on appraisal and revalidation: