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Logo of brjgenpracRCGP homepageJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralBJGP at RCGPBJGP at RCGP
Br J Gen Pract. 2008 January 1; 58(546): 62–63.
PMCID: PMC2148249

Top Tips in 2 minutes

‘Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’1

And where indeed is the information we have lost in data? Anyway, here's a really good idea that might help. We don't have hand outs at our postgraduate sessions any more, we ask instead for a ‘Top Tip’. We asked authors to imagine this:

‘You are about to give a talk to a group of interested GPs, you were going to speak for 1 hour at an important international conference. As bad luck would have it, you and a group of GPs have got stuck in the lift and your talk has been cancelled. However, you will be rescued in 2 minutes. Knowing what an interesting speaker you are and how passionately you feel about this area of your work, your colleagues plead with you to pass on some essential pearls of wisdom. What are your top tips in 2 minutes?

Tell your captive audience (all of whom will be blessing the name of Elisha Graves Otis)2 why the subject is important/interesting; how to look for specific features in the consultation; what next and when for investigations and further management, and finally, a web link or two, both for yourself and your patient.

Top Tips in 2 minutes are snappy, to the point, up-to-date and totally unstuffy. Since the word limit is no more than one side of A4 your enthusiasm will not be over taxed but if you are feeling keen you can always use the web links section to find out more. Our first Top Tip in 2 minutes is on chronic kidney disease. Why? Because it's ‘been around forever, but important now because of eGFR and the QOF’.3

We will be publishing one Top Tip in 2 minutes a month for the next year, and while we guarantee to inform and entertain, we certainly don't intend to be too serious.

Why the humour? Evidence-based of course! Researchers have found that a sense of humour reduces mortality.3 Kidney patients who participated in the study answered questions about age, sex, race, education, quality of life, and sense of humour. All of the patients studied were on dialysis. Patients who scored relatively high on sense of humour were 30% less likely to die within 2 years. No other patient characteristics could predict life or death within 2 years as strongly as the score for sense of humour.

Table 1
Top Tips in 2 minutes: Chronic kidney disease.


Thanks to Addenbrookes PGMC. Top Tips in 2 minutes would not have happened without their help.


1. Eliot TS. Choruses from ‘The Rock’ In: Eliot TS, editor. Selected poems. London: Faber and Faber; 1961. p. 97.
2. Otis EG. Inventor of the safety lift. (accessed 27 Nov 2007)
3. American Association of Kidney Patients. Humor extends life. (accessed 27 Nov 2007)

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners