Northern Territory - August 2019

A message from the Northern Territory Regional Committee Chair

DrRobertTait-Darwin-NTWelcome to the August edition of the Northern Territory eBulletin.

The Northern Territory Regional Committee has been working towards providing several independent events instead of a one-day annual scientific meeting this year.  We are currently planning events for later in the year which will cover topics that have not been offered in the NT before, including the Calgary-Cambridge Communication Method, preparing business cases for research and other projects, financial planning and management, and an Early Fellowship Forum.

Also, for anyone who would like to learn more about My Heath Record, RACP and the Australian Digital Health Authority have partnered in an information session on Tuesday, 3 September (video-conference from Adelaide).

We remain mindful of supporting our trainees. Following the successful BT Weekend Lecture Series on 22-23 June, we will host a Statistics Workshop on Saturday, 7 September and are currently planning an AT Research Workshop with details to be announced shortly.  And to reach the potential next generation of trainees, we will be at the Flinders NT and Top End Health Service Careers Expo in Darwin on Monday, 30 September and Tuesday, 1 October.

I encourage all Advanced Trainees to submit abstracts for the Trainee Research Awards before Saturday, 31 August.  Those shortlisted will present to a local judging panel and award winners are sponsored to attend RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne.

I would like to remind Fellows of the CPD changes effective from this year.  The previous five categories have been reduced to three, and though you still need a minimum of 100 credits each year. The way points can be accumulated and allocated has also changed and there is a focus on reviewing performance and measuring outcomes. If you have not familiarised yourself with the new arrangements, I encourage you to do so by using these resources provided by the College:

  • FAQs are available to explain changes
  • Pomegranate Health podcasts provide more detail. There are two podcasts about the CPD changes, the first podcast provides background and the second podcast explains how to ensure you meet the new requirements. 
  • Our SA/NT Office will be running a CPD Information Session in Adelaide on Monday, 19 August, which will be available for us to join via video conference.
  • If you have questions about meeting the new requirements, please contact Lana Rohde, Member Support Officer

I encourage trainees to consider being part of the NT Trainees’ Committee to ensure the voice of all trainees is heard.  See the section below that gives more detail on the committee and how to get involved.

Katherine in Katherine NTFinally, I would like to welcome our new Regional Senior Executive Officer, Katherine Economides to the team in the SA/NT Office.  Katherine leads the office team, supports the Regional Committee and facilitates our policy and advocacy activities.

Katherine and Lana Rohde, our Member Support Officer, took a tour of the major teaching hospitals in June, visiting Royal Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs. Lana will continue to visit our training hospitals several times a year and is available to assist you with any questions about training, education, CPD or anything related to the College. Lana can be contacted via email.

Dr Robert Tait MBBCh. FRACP
Chair, NT Regional Committee

New workshop: statistics and evidence-based medicine for trainees and clinicians 

When: Saturday, 7 September 2019 from 9am to 4pm
Where: RACP SA/NT Office, Level 2, 257 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide
Note: Video and audio conferencing is available. Email us for details
Register: By email

"What exactly is p-value?"
"Are observational studies meaningless compared to randomised trials?"
"How certain are you when you tell your patients about their diagnosis and treatment?"

It is our privilege to present the first RACP South Australian run workshop on evidence-based medicine and medical statistics. Register to the event, which will be held on Saturday, 7 September 2019 from 9am to 4pm at the RACP SA/NT Office, or access the video-conference.

This workshop is designed to improve your skills in: 

  • understanding medical statistics
  • communicating investigation and treatment outcome probability to patients and colleagues
  • interpreting study results of scientific papers
  • improving quality of patient care.

The topics covered will help Basic Trainees prepare for the upcoming written exam. It incorporates examples that can be applied to all specialities in various practice settings. You will work through real-world questions via interactive sessions, and succinct written material will be provided. 

Our expert speakers are:

  • Dr Philip A Clayton, Senior Consultant Nephrologist, CALHN; Deputy Executive Officer, ANZDATA registry
  • Dr Anthony Chuang, cardiology Advanced Trainee, SALHN; Master of Medicine [Cli Epi]; Sydney University


Fellow in focus: Dr James Cush

Dr James CushDoctor James Cush FRACP, MBBS. B.Sc. has been a Staff Specialist Paediatrician at Royal Darwin Hospital since 2017. He previously held a similar role in Broome and the Kimberley. Dr Cush also works in Luang Prabang in Laos when he can, helping to set up a new children’s hospital.

We caught up with Dr Cush to learn more about his work.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
Working with a team of inspiring people with different skill sets and trying to improve people's lives, even if only in small ways.

What is it about your work that makes you want to get out of bed each morning? 
Meeting the team, discussing plans, seeing kids, talking to parents and solving problems.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? 
When I'm on ward service then ward rounds, I'm typically teaching, attending meetings, resuscitations and clinics.

When I'm on-call, I often take phone calls from across the Top End and attending resuscitations. Sometimes I will stay in the hospital overnight if there are unwell neonates or children.

If I'm on outreach, I typically visit Aboriginal communities and will be busy doing clinics.

If I'm on admin, I'll be in meetings (argh) and trying to catch up on an embarrassing backlog of work.

How do you manage work/life balance? 
Badly. But my motto is "don't bring your ego to work, and don't bring your work home".  I also love camping and exploring the bush.

Are there any patient success stories that you can share?
We had a very unwell neonate present to ED recently in the evening. They were peri-arrest. We stabilised the patient and coordinated through the night with specialists, our own neonatal transport team and a receiving hospital. The patient was flown the next morning to a surgical unit with a cardiac PICU and had a successful operation that day.

Join the Northern Territory Trainees' Committee

The Northern Territory Trainees’ Committee seeks enthusiastic and motivated paediatric, adult medicine, rehabilitation, occupational medicine and public health trainees to join the Committee.

Being a representative is not a time-consuming commitment and is very manageable whilst you're preparing for exams. There is also the opportunity to extend your involvement to a cross-College level by being a part of various working groups and committees.

The Committee is responsible for addressing educational and wellbeing issues that affect trainees across the Northern Territory. We organise several annual educational events for trainees and are always looking for new ways to support and assist trainees.

The Committee meets four times per year. No prior committee experience is required and we welcome applicants from all stages of training.

Read the Terms of Reference before applying.

To apply, submit an expression of interest form and your CV to the NT Office.

For further information about the role, email Rosie Rock or Madeleine Venables, our Northern Territory Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs.

Upcoming events

Continuing Professional Development information session

When: Monday, 19 August 2019
Where: video-conference to the RACP SA/NT Office in Adelaide
Register: via the event webpage

Do you want to understand the recent changes to CPD?  Are you predominantly in private or rural practice and unsure about how to meet the new requirements?  This session is designed to answer all your questions and give you guidance in adjusting to the new framework.

My Health Record information session

When: Tuesday, 3 September 2019
Where: video-conference to RACP SA/NT Office in Adelaide
Host: RACP and Australian Digital Health Authority
Register: via the event webpage

With nine out of ten Australians now having a My Health Record (MHR), this event will introduce and detail a number of topics for specialist physicians and their patients including:
  • MHR benefits, features and functionality
  • implementing and adopting MHR as part of your clinical workflow
  • privacy and security obligations and how this can be communicated to patients.
  • the access, view and upload function of a patient’s clinical documents

Doctor's Health NT - Time management for busy medical professions

Register to a free one hour evening workshop on Tuesday, 3 September at the Novotel Darwin Airport. The event will explore topics such as time management, stress management and work-life balance.

Northern Territory Early Fellowship Forum

Save the date for our Northern Territory Early Fellowship Forum on Saturday, 28 September. We are busy planning a fantastic event for new Fellows and members who are in the early stages of fellowship. Full details will be released shortly.

Host a SPDP face-to-face workshop

Contact your local Member Support Officer or the Supervisor Learning Support Unit  for assistance in organising a workshop at your local site or upcoming specialty Annual Scientific Meeting.

Become a SPDP facilitator

Are you a Fellow who is interested in medical education and facilitating skill-based workshops with your peers? Become a SPDP online course or face-to-face workshop facilitator.

Facilitators plan, manage and provide guidance for SPDP workshops to ensure each workshop is:
  • credible: physicians are best placed to facilitate training for their peers
  • focused on supervisor needs: ensure relevancy to supervisors from all training programs
  • accessible and flexible: adaptable workshop design which can be held at ASM and in local settings.

Recent events

IMG_0529Basic Trainee Weekend Lecture Series
The Basic Trainee Weekend Lecture Series took place on 22 and 23 June at the RACP Adelaide office and was live streamed to participants at Royal Darwin Hospital Campus. This is an annual educational weekend offered to Basic Physician Trainees in years one and two to help prepare for upcoming exams. Guest speakers shared their knowledge and experience whilst presenting on Genetics, Immunology and Antibiotics.

A big thank you to presenters Professor Eric Hann, Dr Tiffany Hughes and Dr Lucy Crawford for sharing their valuable insights. Thank you to Dr Jack Yu for speaking on his experience with the Trainee Research Awards and to South Australia and Northern Territory Trainees Committee members Dr Daina Rudaks, Dr Marty Hansen, Dr Mahsa Gieve, Dr Syed Ali and Dr Yang Du.

IMG_0429Exam Preparation and Panel
We had an entertaining evening presented by the South Australia and Northern Territory Trainees Committee. Dr Simon Rocheleau was informative and light-hearted while sharing his tips to prepare Basic Trainees for their upcoming exams. Topics covered included: handling stress and anxiety in the lead up to exams, effective study techniques and study groups.

Trainee Committee Members representing adult medicine and paediatrics, joined Dr Simon Rocheleau in a panel to share insights on what to expect on the day of exams.

Thank you to Dr Simon Rocheleau, Dr Daina Rudaks, Dr Mahsa Gieve, Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick and Dr Ben Watson for making this a valuable experience.

Trainee Research Awards

Applications for this year’s Trainee Research Awards for Excellence are open until Saturday, 31 August 2019.

The Trainee Research Awards provide a wonderful opportunity for trainees to present their research at a regional event. Trainees selected at each regional event will have the opportunity to present at RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne.

For more information please visit the Foundation webpage.
Submissions close Saturday, 31 August at 5pm AEST.

Participate in the new ethics online learning course

Ethics lies at the very heart of what it is to be a physician and is as relevant now as it was when first discussed two and a half thousand years ago. The ethics online learning resource focuses on the sorts of ethical issues that are a constant feature of health care, and it also addresses some of the ideas that underpin ethics, such as the relationship between ethics and the law and the difference between ethics and rights. 

The aims of this course are to:

  • encourage discussion and broaden thinking about the main ethical issues facing physicians
  • encourage reflection on appropriate courses of action in situations that may be ethically challenging
  • challenge participants’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, ethics
  • model ethical practice
  • help participants reflect on their own and their profession’s ethical commitments. 

Register today

Medical students are invited to apply for the John Snow scholarships for 2019

The Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) is celebrating the 10th year of the John Snow scholarships. Applications are open until Monday, 30 September.These Scholarships provide opportunities for medical students to increase their appreciation of public health medicine as a medical speciality and potential career path.

Nine Scholarships are available each year, representing each State/Territory of Australia and New Zealand. All medical students currently enrolled in Australian or New Zealand medical schools are encouraged to apply.

The selected representatives are invited to present at RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne. Trainee registration and travel assistance of up to $400 are included. An overall winner will be presented with a certificate in recognition of their achievement.

Full details about this scholarship are available on the website. Please contact the RACP Foundation if you have any questions.

2019 MyCPD Framework: have you planned your CPD to meet the new requirements?

The new 2019 MyCPD Framework came into effect in January 2019. It changes the CPD activities you need to record to meet CPD requirements.

The framework is designed to help you prepare for future regulatory requirements to be introduced with the Medical Board of Australia’s Professional Performance Framework (PPF). The Medical Board launched the PPF in response to the final report from the Expert Advisory Group on re-validation.

The RACP’s simplified framework strengthens CPD by engaging Fellows in a range of CPD activities from three categories. CPD activities are required in at least two of the following categories:

  • educational activities
  • reviewing performance
  • measuring outcomes.

Activities in the educational activities category are worth one credit per hour. Activities under the reviewing performance and measuring outcomes categories are worth three credits per hour.

Your annual CPD requirement is still a minimum of 100 credits. Each category is capped at 60 credits. You do not need to record credits in all three categories.

You can continue to choose which CPD activities to complete as long as you can record a minimum of 14 hours of activities that review performance and/or measure outcomes.

Further details are available on the CPD webpage.

Resources are available to assist you with meeting the new requirements including:

The CPD Team are happy to answer your questions. If you need further information or advice, please contact them on 1300 697 227 or via email.


Pomegranate Health podcasts

Training in the Bush Podcast PicPomegranate Health is RACP’s award-winning podcast that explores compelling questions about the culture of medicine. Listen to the interesting discussions between clinicians, researchers and advocates on pertinent and thought-provoking topics. Each episode is developed with the guidance of RACP members, to inspire excellence in practice.

One of our newest episodes Training in the bush sees the podcast team visiting physicians based in Dubbo Base Hospital. The hospital services a catchment of 130,000 people spread across an area the size of Great Britain. Whilst the need in the area is high, Dubbo presents an example of strong clinical leadership and training across numerous specialties.

Past podcasts include:

Subscribe today to be among the first to find out about new episodes. Podcasts are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and any Android podcasting app.

Do you have an idea you want to discuss, or just want to give some feedback? Email us

Frequently asked questions

What are the opening hours of the SA/NT Office?
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Where is the SA/NT Office located?
Suite 7, Level 2, 257 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide SA 5006

How do I contact the College?
Contact the SA/NT Office via phone +61 8 8465 0970 or email
Contact Member Services via phone 1300 697 227 or email

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