The Core Skills unit
The Core Skills unit that forms the centrepiece of the curriculum clearly state in measurable terms, the knowledge and skills required for each stage of general practice training. The unit was developed by identifying the unifying elements in each of the former curriculum statements that collectively defined the core skills and the unique nature of the Australian GP.
The development of this unit has been an organic process. It evolved throughout the curriculum review process as a result of subject matter experts, stakeholders, medical writers and editors recognising that there was significant repetition in the existing curriculum, which could be addressed by the identification and articulation of the core skills.
The Core Skills unit, in combination with specific units in rural health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, now constitutes the curriculum for Australian general practice, replacing the 36 statements that made up the 2011 curriculum. The broad variety of groups of important conditions and unique populations that constituted the former curriculum statements in the 2011 curriculum for Australian general practice are maintained as curriculum support materials.
These population, presentation and process contextual unit statements are made up of a rationale for the importance of inclusion of this subject area in the skills framework and contain regularly updated references. By separating the core skills from the populations and presentations to which they can be applied, the opportunity has opened up to develop more resource materials for additional populations and presentations as the need arises.
An important change to the format of the curriculum for Australian general practice is the reduction of the four learning pathways to three. They have been divided into:
- Pre-general practice (refers to medical students and doctors who have not entered into any of the formal general practice training pathways)
- General practice under supervision (pre-Fellow GPs enrolled in a training pathway)
- General practice – lifelong learning (GPs who hold Fellowship of the RACGP [FRACGP] or Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine [FACRRM], or who are vocationally registered).
The Core Skills unit is designed to assist the RACGP, regional training organisations, Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) providers, specific interest groups, general practice supervisors and other users of the curriculum to design learning programs, courses, and assessments to meet the stated outcomes and criteria. In conjunction with the Competency Profile of the Australian General Practitioner, the Core Skills unit will also provide guidance for those who assess overseas doctors on alternate pathways and doctors wishing to be recognised as eligible for the FRACGP.
The nature of competency-based education means that the outcomes and criteria outlined in the curriculum are broad. This in turn enables training providers to develop the processes that enable the outcomes and criteria to be met within the context of where, when, how and to whom the training is delivered.
The ‘range statement’ provides further detail of the terminology used, providing examples of how the outcomes and criteria can be brought to life in a variety of ways. This curriculum is not a syllabus nor an exhaustive list of all of the knowledge and skills required to work as a GP, but should rather be viewed as the foundations upon which more detailed learning programs are developed.
Context of general practice
There is a broad range of patients presenting with broad range of conditions across the life span.
There is a high incidence of transient and undifferentiated illness and high prevalence of chronic, complex and multisystem illness.
There is also a high incidence of psychological illness and psychological factors contributing to presentations:
- communication and the patient-doctor relationship
- applied professional knowledge and skills
- population health and the context of general practice
- professional and ethical role
- organisational and legal dimension.