The 3 Word documents I need to do my job

If you are anything like me, and you struggle to recall all the information you sift through in your day then you should consider the possibility of setting up your own advice portal. There will likely be just one reader of this advice and that is yourself. It is amazingly easy to do and it will grow quickly. I suggest you start with 3 word documents and let them sit on your desktop. There is also one useful folder you may want to consider.

  1. My formulary. In a word document jot down all the medications you rarely prescribe. Make a note of when they are in and out of stock. Write reminders for yourself about what to use and what to avoid. If a patient or pharmacist tells you how much it is, write that down. This may not be helpful for the everyday stuff you prescribe all the time, but for the over the counter medications you simply can never remember the name of, the anti-histamine eye drops that you almost never prescribe, or for the things your patients absolutely swear by it can be a god send.
  2. My referral list. In this document I keep a list of the people I have referred to and it has gone well and the people I have referred to and it has gone less well. I find this particularly useful for the people I refer privately. If I refer to someone and it goes especially badly I think this reflects poorly on me, like I am a poor judge of character or I am picking a name out of the hat. Sometimes you may have to pick a name out of the hat. I usually inform the patient I am doing so and ask them to tell me how it goes should I forget to enquire.
  3. My ‘How do I’ list. In this word document I keep a list of all the things I must remember to perform my day to day activities. I put in here things like, the names of all the staff I work with, probably not an issue in a small practice, but in the big ones you will forget quickly. Reminders of where services exist and don’t exist, for example hospital X has dermatology clinics whilst hospital Y has cardiology outpatients. I have a list of phone numbers, fax referrals, even things like ‘The FOB kits are kept in room 3’ or ‘Your colleague Dr Z does the Implant but not  IUDs.’ In my clinic there are certain things that happen on certain days, such as ‘Psychologist here Mon-Weds 9-5.’ Or ‘Practice nurse doing GP care plans only on Mon, Thurs, Fri AM.’ I also put things like ‘Echo available Peninsula Cardiology – $80 – forms in admin office 2’ because I can never recall prices and where things are kept. Essentially this list is populated with anything I might forget that does not go in files 1 and 2.

So…what goes in your folder I hear you cry. Calm down, I’m getting to that. It is all my Advice sheets and Treatment pathways. In here I will have an advice sheet on shoulder pain, knee pain, hip pain. I will have a factsheet about FODMAP diets. I will have flow diagrams of how to deal with abnormal ferritins, LFTs and hormone profiles. Granted I am slowly putting all this stuff up on the TeachMeGP.com website, but in the event it is not there or your internet server goes down, this is where it all sits.

If you work at different sites, keep these three files on a USB device and consider having different ones where necessary. When you leave the job remember to bring it with you or it may be gone if you ever decide to come back.


  1. Would you like to write for TeachMeGP?

    We are always looking for new authors on a whole host of topics which affect our patients. So if you would like to submit a piece for consideration, we would love to read it. You can send all submissions to teachmegp@gmail.com


    Teach Me GP is not intended to be an alternative to seeing your own GP. It is intended to be used alongside your GP consultation as a learning aid. The advice provided within is as accurate and as comprehensive as possible. However, it is only general advice and should not be used as a substitute for consulting your own doctor.

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