A future Welwyn STGP ST1s Guide To The Application Process
New applicants will need to visit the official website at http://www.gprecruitment.org.uk/ for full details, but this is an unofficial guide based on first hand experience.
Stage One: The Application Form
This is an online form, and is fairly straightforward. It requires personal details, details of previous posts held, details of referees etc. It is at this point that you also have to commit to a Deanery (Eastern, of course). Deanery preference is ranked from 1 to 4.
Stage Two: The Written Paper
This consisted of 3 papers, although only 2 of these contributed to our final marks allocated. The assessed papers were:
- Clinical Problem Solving Paper, total time 75 minutes. This tested knowledge in medicine, surgery, pharmacology, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology, and paediatrics. It consists of extended matching questions and single best answer questions.
- Professional Dilemma Paper, total time 90 minutes.
I would advise reading the National Person Specification, GMC Duties of a Doctor and practising with questions online. For the clinical areas the Oxford handbooks for General Practice and speciality medicine.
This is held on the same day throughout the country, but be sure to submit your application form early so that you can sit the Stage 2 exam at your choice of venue for convenience. Popular venues do get booked up early, although travel expenses could be claimed back last year.
The mark that you receive on this exam decides whether you are invited to Stage Three of the recruitment process.
Stage Three: The Selection Centre Assessment
This will be at your preferred Deanery i.e. Newmarket Race Course for the Eastern Deanery. At the start of the day you will need to register. Remember that the examiners will probably already be on site when you arrive, so essentially you are being assessed from the moment you arrive. Ensure that you bring all your documents as requested and three photocopies of each, as some people were asked to return with these the following day if they did not bring them. You will be asked to complete your preference form for which schemes within the deanery you would prefer today, so try to decide beforehand to avoid making a rushed decision.
Documents to bring (in a folder with your name and applicant ID number on the front):
- Proof of ID e.g. Passport
- Evidence of eligibility to work in UK for non-UK/EEA applicants
- GMC certificate
- Original medical degree certificate
- Signed and verified references
- Driving license
- Evidence of achievement of foundation competences (form available on http://www.gprecruitment.org.uk/ at time of applications)
- ST2/3 need evidence of appropriate experience
The assessment day is divided into three parts:
- Simulated patient consultation
This reminded me of medical school exams, with an examiner observing you taking a history from an actor, marking against a preset marking scheme. The important points here are to not only take a thorough history to reach the diagnosis, but to remember the importance of good communication skills, checking understanding, exploring patient's ideas, concerns, expectations, giving opportunities for the patient to ask questions, finding out about the impact on the individual with regards to work and social life etc.
Before you ask the patient to come into the room, ensure that you are happy with the way the furniture is arranged i.e. patient and doctor are sitting around the corner of the table from each other and not across the table. Also be aware that your patient may have been instructed to become angry or tearful to test how you handle this situation.
Remember that you management plan should also include psychological and social treatments, in addition to any necessary further investigations, medications etc.
- Group exercise
Picture four candidates sitting around a table, each with their own examiner in the room watching and marking them. We were given a shared scenario and then each given an individual agenda in addition.
It is important to remember that this is a group exercise, hence the examiner needs to see you working well as a team, not as a leader. All group members need to be involved, and it will probably be viewed in a positive light if you actively try to involve those who are finding it difficult to contribute. Do not be shy as the examiner cannot give you marks if you don't say anything. Ensure that you address both your own agenda and those of the other group members. Agree on action to be taken, and arrange to meet again to follow this up. Try to summarise the key points at the end to avoid confusion, and don't forget that you only have 20 minutes in total. Remember to also use non-verbal communication e.g. eye contact, sitting forward, active listening etc.
- Written paper
You are given a list of five tasks at work which all need to be completed. You must prioritise these tasks in the order you would complete them and justify these decisions. There is no right or wrong answer, as long as you reasoning is clear. Key points to remember are the order Airway, Breathing, Circulation for ill patients, that you may ask for help from colleagues, and no-one would hold having personal feelings against you as long as you act sensibly and responsibly.