New South Wales / Australian Captial Territory — April 2018

A message from the NSW/ACT State Committee Chair

Welcome to the first edition of the New South Wales (NSW) / Australian Capital Territory (ACT) State eNewsletter for 2018.

Following the recent events with Computer Based Testing, I would like to thank our trainees, DPE’s and Network Directors for their perseverance and support provided to one another during the exam failure. This has been a very distressing time and I urge members to utilise the RACP Converge Support Helpline for confidential counselling, coaching and support for workplace and personal issues. The Committee will continue to advocate for trainees and Fellows and work with the College to ensure that the outcomes of the internal and external inquiry are communicated to you.

The NSW/ACT State Committee election and nomination details can be found on the website. This will be my last newsletter as Chair of the NSW/ACT State Committee, I have been a member of the Committee since 2012 and Chair from 2015. I have enjoyed my time on the Committee and thank the State Committee for their ongoing hard work and commitment to NSW/ACT members. I would also like to thank our outgoing members, Dr Megan Sands, Dr John Eastwood, Dr Lucy Deng and Dr Sophie McGilvray for their valuable contributions and efforts towards the Committee during their terms. I am confident that the new Committee from 1 July 2018 will continue to advocate and drive key issues for NSW/ACT members going forward.

The State Committee has been busy assisting with and organising a number of events and activities over these past few months, including the upcoming RACP Congress, which will be held in Sydney in May this year. As part of this, I am pleased to advise that a New Fellows Forum will be held in Sydney on Sunday, 13 May. This event is targeted to New Fellows and will provide strategies on managing the transition to becoming a Fellow as well as setting up a private practice. A professional skills workshop will also be run by the President of the Adult Medicine Division, Associate Professor Grant Phelps, and the President of the Paediatric and Child Health Division, Dr Sarah Dalton. Please register on the RACP Congress website.

The State Committee is committed to engaging with stakeholders and building on these relationships in 2018 and beyond.  I recently met with the Chief Executives from the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) to initiate discussions and collaboration on important topics including, selection into training, doctors’ health and wellbeing and the medical workforce. I am confident that these relationships will continue to strengthen and we can better meet the needs of our members. A meeting with the Chief Executive of the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) is scheduled for April.

If you have any questions relating to the Committee, would like to provide feedback or RSVP to an event please email

Professor Stephen Clarke 

Chair, NSW/ACT State Committee

A message from the NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

Coming off the back of several positively received information sessions in 2017, the committee is keen to build on these and is looking forward to bringing trainees events tailored to all stages of training. We hope these sessions will become regular events that form part of trainees’ yearly planning.

We would like to offer our support to the trainees who re-sat the written examination on Friday, 2 March. Though the written examination is finally over and marks released we know that some of the trainees had experiences they will carry for some time. We would like to congratulate those who have been successful this year, and give our heartfelt support to those who will be re-sitting in 2019. The committee has made several recommendations to the RACP on behalf of NSW & ACT trainees which have been well received. We look forward to seeing the outcome of College investigations into CBT and future reforms. Please get in touch with us via the below channels if we can offer additional support.

We started the year off with a Basic Training Orientation for new BPTs and interns considering physician training. Talks covered RACP requirements, ideas for how to make the most of BPT from current trainees and looking after your health and wellbeing in the training context. The session finished with a Q&A with all speakers for everyone to ask their individual questions. Feedback has been positive and we welcome suggestions for future topics.

Mid 2018 we will be running an Exams and Wellbeing event for tips on preparing for the written and clinical examinations. College staff will outline the practicalities of examinations and we will have trainees share their experiences of preparing for and succeeding in the divisional written and clinical examinations as well as managing personal and mental well-being.

Our next event is aimed at Paediatric and Child Health trainees moving from Basic to Advanced Training and will break down what you can expect day to day, the AT research project and how to succeed as an AT. We are looking at holding a similar event aimed at Adult Medicine trainees later in the year.

If you’re wondering how to find out about these and future events, make sure to check the Trainees Facebook page, check the RACP events page and look out for posters on your hospital notice boards. 

In other news, several Committee members have stepped down and we thank Dr Lucy Deng, Dr Patrick Tunney, Dr Paul Bamford, Dr Sathah Sivabalan, Dr Petria Carter and Dr Jonathan Baird-Gunning for their contributions to the committee.

A special thank you to Dr Phoebe Stewart and Dr Rihan Shahab, our previous co-chairs, for their unwavering dedication over the past three years to building the committee’s profile and laying the ground work for a strong structure and direction.

Current members of the committee can be found online here. We encourage all trainees in NSW/ACT to engage with the committee and bring forward any issues, comments or queries to us at

Dr ​Aimee Wiseman
Paediatric Medicine Co-Chair 
NSW/ACT Trainees' Committee

Dr ​Kiri Langford
Adult Co-Chair
NSW/ACT Trainees' Committee

Steering positive changes in physician education

Dr Hari Nandakoban is one of nearly 50 Directors of Physician Education (DPE) supporting more thanDr Hari 2,000 trainees across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

As the Network Director of Physician Training (DPT) for Liverpool, Fairfield and the Tweed Hospital and the DPE for Liverpool Hospital, Dr Nandakoban is extremely dedicated to supporting trainees as they progress to the next stages of their career.

Medical education has been a part of his life since he was a medical student. He says this provides him with the opportunity to make positive changes while balancing the clinical work that comes with being a Nephrologist.

Dr Nandakoban finds workplaces reap huge benefits when they prioritise and invest in education, particularly when considering the time spent dealing with complaints and errors from simple mistakes.

“If you have a skilled worker, they are less likely to make mistakes and more likely to enjoy their work. Patients will end up having a better experience too,” he says.

Since becoming the Network DPE at Liverpool Hospital, Dr Nandakoban has worked closely with colleagues to develop innovative education and training approaches for their Junior Medical Officers (JMOs) and Medical Registrars.

One of these approaches is the recent implementation of three-tier teams, which Dr Nandakoban describes as “…one of the biggest enhancements that we have had in medicine in the history of Liverpool Hospital”.

This approach was used to enhance staffing, support the teaching environment and allow more work-life balance for medical staff. Each team now has a JMO, a Basic Trainee and an Advanced Trainee — rather than the previous team structure of having only one JMO and one registrar. As a result, the new structure has led to employment of additional doctors and is enabling Advanced Trainees to cover wards while Basic Trainees are attending teaching sessions. This ensures teaching time is protected while maintaining required clinical care.

Furthermore, the Advanced Trainees take on the role of team leader, giving them the opportunity to expand their skills in decision making and guiding junior colleagues. Dr Nandakoban says he has learnt to embrace this, noting that the best educators are often the younger ones.

“They can relate to the trainees and the trainees feel that they can relate to them, so they are not intimidated by some sort of power imbalance,” he says.

Dr Nandakoban says that the position of DPE is rewarding for anyone passionate about medical education, training and the welfare of doctors.

“You become a very central person within the hospital, so you get to know clinicians from all departments."

Out and about

Rostering, supervisor expectations and network run courses were just some of the topics discussed at Basic Training Orientation events attended by RACP Member Support Officer Isabel Roos recently.Isabel
Orientation events help new trainees learn about:

Events took place at the RACP in Sydney and in Royal North Shore, Canberra, Wollongong, Liverpool and John Hunter hospitals during the first three months of 2018.

In addition to attending orientation events, Isabel also recently represented the RACP at the ACT and Onthewards careers expos for medical students deciding what specialty to pursue after their internship. At these expos, students asked questions and learnt more about the various specialty training options.

Isabel has also visited several workplaces this month, meeting trainees and supervisors to provide updates on the RACP activities and pass on feedback.

To contact Isabel with any training or supervisor questions or ideas please email

NSW Office of Health and Medical Research (OHMR) update

Applications for round one of the OHMR’s 2018/19 Cell and Gene Therapy Grant initiative are open now and close on Thursday, 19 April 2018.

Cell and Gene Therapy Grants support the development, delivery and commercialisation of innovative therapies using cell and gene therapies. Up to $5 million in funding is available for projects in the 2018 inaugural round. Research projects should be a maximum of three years duration. Individual​ Grants will be capped at a maximum of $2 million.

To read application guidelines and find out more, visit the NSW Health website.

Health and wellbeing resources

The RACP recognise​s the importance of supporting the health and wellbeing of medical practitioners. Maintaining healthy mental, physical and social wellbeing ensures specialists can practice effectively throughout their careers, including during training.

In collaboration with partners across the sector, the RACP developed a range of resources to support the health and wellbeing of physicians. You can view the health and wellbeing resources on the RACP website

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