Top Ten Tips for GP Trainees in Paediatrics

It is estimated that children make up for two-fifths of a typical GP’s workload, yet between 40-60 percent of GPs have little or no formal training in paediatrics. We think that’s a little ridiculous; If you’re lucky enough to have a paediatric placement during your GP training, you need to make sure that you come away with the skills and confidence to assess and treat children in your surgery, in addition to stepping into the valuable shoes of paediatric SHO for the 4-6 months that you’re part of the team.  Here are our top ten tips:


  1. Learn how to do the basic common procedures i.e. heel prick, IV lines etc.  It will make your shifts easier to manage and give you independence.  Also when winter hits, there will be times when you’re faced with an ill child and your registrar is stuck at the other end of the hospital. It’s a lot less scary if you can do things!

  2. Gain a better understanding of what you can do in a surgery before an unwell child even gets to hospital. Salbutamol/Dexamethasone/IM Ben Pen…We love it it when treatment’s started before the child even comes through the door. It might just save their life. 

  3. Learn the difference between an appropriate GP referral to PAU/CAU and an inappropriate referral. The registrars and nursing staff will usually be voicing this loudly.

  4. Go to clinic and learn the difference between an appropriate clinic referral and an inappropriate referral

  5. Take time to learn how to deal with the very anxious parents. Reassurance is a key skill of general practice and if you’re convinced the child is absolutely fine; parents will definitely appreciate it more than a 4 hour stay in CAU.

  6. Spend a day or two on the postnatal ward doing baby checks; you’ll be reviewing plenty of newborns as a fully qualified GP and you’ll feel very clever when you pick up that dodgy hip that the neonatal SHO missed back on day 2…

  7. Understand that primary health care has a very important role in improving paediatric public health. Get vaccinating and be a true steward of antimicrobial use.

  8. Have fun.  Paediatrics will always be better than any adult based rotation you will ever do. Fact.  As evidenced by the colourful wards, cheerful play assistants and a cake rota!

  9. Consider doing the Diploma in Child Health. I know you’re fed up of exams but that background knowledge will set you up for a career that’s almost half paediatrics.

  10. Keep an open mind.  You may love paediatrics soooooo much you’ll consider changing specialities.  It has been known to happen.


If you liked this; check out our post on the different types of SHO personalities in paediatrics: Which one do you think you are?

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon