FAQs for the 2017-19 triennium


Frequentley asked questions regarding the 2017-19 triennium


The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) Program supports Australian general practitioners (GPs) to maintain and improve their professional knowledge and skills in order to provide the best possible care for patients and their communities.

Continuing professional development (CPD) for GPs includes a range of activities to meet individual learning that is relevant to their scope of practice.

QI&CPD Program objectives:

  • Provide GPs with opportunities to improve patient safety and quality outcomes
  • Support continuous quality improvement (QI) within the general practice setting
  • Enable GPs to fulfil their individual and vocational CPD requirements


The 2017–19 triennium focus is on facilitating doctors to use reflective learning to identify opportunities to enhance their daily practice by making changes that will improve patient safety and care.

Improvement needs to be based on the practice’s own information and data that can be collected in a number of ways, including patient and staff feedback and audits of clinical data. All practice staff members need to have the opportunity to contribute to the practice’s QI activities.
Activities that facilitate review and evaluation of GPs’ own practice include:

  • PLAN activity
  • supervised clinical attachment (SCA)
  • plan, do, study, act (PDSA)
  • clinical audit
  • general practice research
  • evidence-based medical journal club (EBMJC)
  • small group learning (SGL)


To assist you in structuring your learning for the 2017–19 triennium, the RACGP has introduced the PLAN QI activity.


PLAN is an online self-reflection activity to assist you to map out and document areas of learning you would like to focus on that best meets the evolving needs of your practice presentations, demographics, community needs and personal aspirations for the triennium.

At the heart of PLAN is the belief that as GPs, we can learn from our unique experiences and, through self-direction, incorporate this into our existing knowledge and skills.

PLAN is your comprehensive learning plan tool to support your reflective practice. The PLAN activity has been designed to support the needs of all GPs, including those currently in general practice, not in clinical general practice (eg academic and educational positions) and those that are returning to general practice from any form of leave.

The cyclic nature of the PLAN activity aims to allow GPs to learn and develop to meet their own personal and professional needs, as well as the needs of patients and the Australian community.


Reflection requires the critical review of our own experiences and thought processes to gain understanding about ourselves, our behaviour and the world around us. Reflective practices developed out of the recognition that formal theoretical knowledge acquired in the course of professional learning needs to be critically applied to solve the complex problems of real-life daily practice. The reflective practitioners incorporate these processes into lifelong learning in order to relate knowledge and learning to practical competence and professional activity.1

The PLAN activity supports this systematic approach to help facilitate the development aspect of reflective learning within the CPD of Australian GPs.

  1. Schön D. The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1983.


The introduction of the PLAN activity coincides with an increasing literature base of international best practice illustrating that reflective learning better ensures that CPD is a planned, rational choice.

 The online tool is built in line with international practices1,2 of learning plans which include a cycle of:

  • identification of learning needs
  • development of learning plan and activities
  • self-reflection of learning.

Refer to the Good Practice article, Reflecting on PLAN for more information on the rational and evidence behind PLAN.

  1. Driessen E, van Tartwijk J. Portfolios in personal and professional development. In: Swanwick T, editor. Understanding medical education: Evidence, theory, and practice. London: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.
  2. Tompkins M, Paquette-Frenette D. Learning portfolio models in health regulatory colleges of Ontario, Canada. J Contin Educ Health Prof 2010;30(1):57–64.

 

  1. Login to myRACGP
  2. Click myCPD
  3. Select ‘PLAN activity’


Upon completion of the PLAN activity, 40 Category 1 points will be allocated. PLAN will also meet the QI requirement for the triennium.

 

  • In the 2002–04 QI&CPD triennium, a paper-based learning plan was available as an activity.
  • On 21 August 2009, a review was undertaken and a proposal was submitted to RACGP Council at the time to consider the availability of an online tool that would allow GPs to identify areas to assist them in completing a learning plan in the 2011– 13 triennium. The details on how this would be achieved online were not defined at that point.
  • In 2011–13, the paper-based learning plan was removed from the activity offering, based on feedback from GPs that they wanted an exclusively online learning tool. Since this time, further research has been undertaken to develop the activity.
  • We now have the technology available to make the PLAN activity an online reality.


The PLAN activity was released in January 2017, after the Medical Board of Australia’s interim paper was released in August 2016. The paper highlighted that reflective learning practice is essential for learners and the PLAN activity is key in assisting GPs to reflect on their professional development.


No. All GPs will need to complete PLAN online by accessing myRACGP


Yes, you can complete multiple drafts of PLAN but you will only receive CPD points for the completion of one PLAN activity.


GPs see the widest range of conditions of any medical specialty. Reflective practice enables GPs to review their performance and decide what further learning needs to occur and continue over their professional lifetime.

The ability to reflect on one’s own performance is critical to lifelong, self- directed learning.1 Reflective practice in lifelong learning is an active process that improves with practice. Learning plans are good reflective practice tools because they act by:

  • focusing ongoing professional development through documenting goals
  • examining professional experiences to avoid repeating errors
  • facilitating reflection and identification of learning needs
  • collecting evidence of new knowledge and learning.

PLAN provides the structure to support develop of reflective practice.

  1. Swanwick T. Understanding medical education. In: Swanwick T, editor. Understanding medical education: Evidence, theory, and practice. London: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.


In PLAN, you are asked, as part of developing your learning needs, to reflect on your level of confidence in terms of knowledge and skills against a series of criteria.

These are:

  • the five domains of general practice and the contextual units of the RACGP’s Curriculum for Australian general practice 2016 (the Curriculum)
  • common general practice conditions
  • procedural skills relevant to general practice.

The five domains of general practice represent the critical areas of knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for competent unsupervised general practice. They are relevant to every general patient consultation. The five domains have been expanded by the addition of the Core skills unit, which are used as the basis for this section of the self-reflection.
Refer to the five domains of general practice and Core skills unit for more information.

The Curriculum contextual units identify how the core skills from the domains of general practice can be best applied to individuals from different populations and with a variety of types of presentations. Refer to the Curriculum for Australian general practice 2016 for further information.

Common general practice conditions are a sample of conditions identified by practicing GPs to promote reflection on a broad range of common general practice management problems. There will be other conditions that you may want to document in your PLAN activity.

Procedural skills relevant to general practice are a sample of skills identified by practicing GPs to promote reflection on a broad range of procedural skills. There will be other skills that you may want to document in your PLAN activity.

Procedural tasks have been identified as tasks which are more likely to be lost over a period of time, especially when a GP is returning to clinical practice after a period of absence. While GPs in clinical situations may not require a high level of skill in procedural tasks, reviewing these skills provides you with a systematic process for reflecting on procedural skills learning requirements.


You are the expert in planning your own lifelong learning to ensure it is relevant to the realities of your everyday practice. Focusing learning to your needs ensures that your CPD is relevant to your most important learning requirements.

The use of PLAN is based on adult learning principles1  and aims to:

  • place you at the centre of the learning process, using your current practice needs as the basis of your learning
  • identify potential areas for skill improvement in meeting the needs of your current practice population
  • assist you to make informed choices about your education needs
  • assist you to integrate theory and practice into your work
  • enhance your motivation to learn and to ask appropriate questions of yourself and others
  • encourage you to regularly review your learning needs
  • encourage you to share your PLAN with peers.
  1. Knowles M. Andragogy in action: Applying modern principles of adult learning. San Franscisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1984.


No. PLAN is unrelated to providers as it is an individual self-reflection activity, which is part of the RACGP QI&CPD 2017–19 triennium.


PLAN assists you to better identify your development needs which then translates into decisions about what activities could be undertaken utilising various providers.


The CPD cycle information will be held in your CPD portfolio so you can refer to it as needed. This has been requested previously by GPs, particularly in relation to preceding cycles. If a GP is challenged about their expertise, this data is one potential source of evidence.


There is neither external validation nor correction of your individual CPD determination. You can choose your CPD activities.

GPs undertaking the RACGP QI&CPD Program currently receive reminders and advice as to how they can meet their CPD requirements. This assistance is welcomed but does not dictate particular activities courses or direct you to particular providers.


All activities that are notified in the QI&CPD dashboard by education activity representatives (EARs) need to be carefully considered as to how they fit within the Curriculum.

By selecting appropriate domains and contextual units, GPs who have an identified area requiring further knowledge and skills such as ‘Adult health’, will be able to easily search and find activities to fit their needs.


Yes. In PLAN you can add additional areas of interest, such as improvement in practice management.


A New Fellow has just completed Fellowship of the RACGP within the 2014–16 triennium and is commencing the QI&CPD Program for the first time.


The PLAN activity caters for all GPs, including those with a specific interest. GPs undertaking clinical practice can complete a practice profile and consider the learning needs based on the domains and contextual units. In addition, there are a variety of common GP conditions and procedural skills that each GP should be able to reflect on, based on the curriculum.

Please note, specific interest requirements will still need to be met.


You have the option to link an accredited activity you have completed on your statement. You can also upload a document detailing any other activity you have completed to meet the learning outcomes. This could be evidence of reading or cases you have completed.


It is ideal for GPs to share their knowledge and discuss everyday issues with their peers and other health professionals, assisted by a facilitator.

  1. An SGL activity maximises the benefits of working and learning together in a small group setting. It is the ideal format for GPs to share their knowledge and discuss daily practice with peers and other health professionals with the assistance of a facilitator.
  2. EBMJCs enable GPs to discuss and solve clinical questions that arise in their everyday practice in a peer-supported environment. The group then follows up these questions by researching evidence, therefore assisting GPs to relate the evidence directly to their clinical practice.


The RACGP have friendly staff available to assist you. If you require support in completing the PLAN activity, please contact your local QI&CPD office.


Since the launch of PLAN in January 2017, RACGP has received feedback from GPs requesting a much more user-friendly, accessible and interactive process within PLAN. As a result, an improved version of PLAN was released in October based on GP feedback.


Your previous data will be retained, so you can continue to use PLAN seamlessly.