Dr Katrina Tiller loves the variety of roles she performs in her professional life.
She works part-time at a general practice in Sydney and as a GP surveyor for Quality Practice Accreditation, a highly-regarded accreditation specialist helping practices of all sizes maintain the world-class standards set by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Dr Tiller thinks many part-time doctors, male and female, would enjoy becoming GP surveyors.
“The work is flexible,” she says. “You can plan it well in advance. And there’s great variety.
“Being a GP surveyor is another arm of GP education and a component of many GP’s quality improvement.
“So if you are interested in being part of the quality improvement in general practices being a GP surveyor is one way to do that.
“There is a lot to learn from surveying.”
Dr Tiller has been a GP surveyor with QPA since 2012.
“I responded to an invitation from the GP surveyor at the time my practice was having their accreditation visit. I had worked in the one general practice since getting my FRACGP and thought it was a great opportunity to see other practices, meet other doctors, nurses, and managers and do something a bit different from the day-to-day patient load.
“I’ve never regretted becoming a GP surveyor.”
She finds it relatively easy to juggle work commitments.
“I have worked part time in general practice for many years so have been able to fit survey visits into the times that I don’t have practice commitments. Flexibility in the general practice that I work in has also allowed me to swap days if two days are needed in a row if a country or interstate visit is offered.”
Dr Tiller, who has been a GP for 25 years, says it’s a privilege to go into other general practices.
“To observe the strengths and to draw the practice’s attention to where standards may not be being met is always interesting.
“I enjoy talking to other people, hearing the stories of where the practice may have started and where it is heading, what the patient demographic is and what the practice does to meet their particular community needs.
“There are many ways to deliver good patient care and it is always interesting to see innovative general practices.
“I have been to inner city, suburban, rural and remote practices. I have learnt a lot from my co-surveyors, who are generally practice managers or nurses who know all the ins and outs of IT and practice management. After a few years, I have started seeing practices again, which is enjoyable, and it is fascinating to see how some have changed and what has stayed the same.”
Dr Tiller says practice staff are usually keen to show her how their systems work, although some can be nervous at first.
“Drawing attention to gaps in the standards can be confronting for some doctors and practice managers.
“Being a surveyor is not being a judge, rather another set of eyes that helps practices align with community and professional standards.”
Words: Nigel Adlam
Photography: Carol Gibbons
QPA is recruiting GP surveyors.
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