Trainee News December 2019

Message from the Chair of the College Trainees' Committee

College Trainees’ Committee (CTC) membership and representation

The Committee welcomed new members onto the CTC and thanked Dr Lee Fairhead (WA) and Dr Sarah Primhak (NZ) for their invaluable contributions at our last CTC meeting.  

Positions for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori Representatives are important roles which remain vacant, and we would be grateful to receive expression of interest for either position by contacting us at  

View the up-to-date list of CTC Members.

Pulse Survey

The College is running a pulse survey to understand the experiences of trainees in recent selection and recruitment rounds. 

You received an email on Tuesday, 26 November with a link to the survey which will run for two weeks. The survey is anonymous and should only take five minutes to complete. I strongly encourage you to give your feedback about different experiences during selection from the last nine months, so we can be aware of your views.

A summary of the results will be shared with all members on the RACP website. If you have any questions about the survey please contact

Computer Based Testing (CBT)

To support the re-implementation of computer-based testing for RACP examinations, a Computer Based Testing (CBT) Working Group has been established including three trainee representatives from the CTC. The CBT Working Group held its first meeting on 12 September and is planning to phase the re-introduction of computer-based testing by piloting it with a Faculty exam.

Education Renewal

The CTC received an update on the Education Renewal Program and were advised that implementation of the new Basic Training Program will begin in 2020 with select early adopter training settings. Configuration of the electronic technology to support the new Basic Training Program has commenced and trainees and supervisors will be involved in testing the system before it is rolled out.

Congress 2020

RACP Congress 2020 will be held in Melbourne from 4 – 6 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Registrations have opened and I encourage you to consider attending if there are any sessions that are of interest to you. A discounted trainee rate for day registration is available. Further details and the current program is available on the Congress website.

Training Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Physicians

Our College is undertaking work to examine ways to increase Indigenous entry into training, identifying the enablers and barriers to enacting change, and identifying strategies that could lead to increased numbers. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee and Māori Health Committee are playing key advisory roles in this project. The Indigenous Strategic Framework is available on the College website. 

History of Medicine Library

Our College held an event to celebrate the re-opening of our History of Medicine Library on 24 October. Tours of the Library and building at 145 Macquarie Street in Sydney were held and some of our collection was displayed in the Council, Edward Ford and Fellows’ rooms for members to view.

Our College has sent out a call for expressions of interest for the new Library Collections and Cultural Heritage Committee and I encourage anyone who is interested in being involved to view the expression of interest.

As always, you can get in touch with us via with any issues, ideas or concerns related to your training. 

Dr Davina Buntsma
College Trainees’ Committee

NSW/ACT Trainees' Committee update

The NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee has been working to support trainees in the areas that matter to you. We continue to advocate for quality training opportunities, fair assessment processes, and transparency with regard to official College policies and how they impact trainees.

Since our last update, we successfully held a Paediatric Advanced Training Orientation, as well as the Exams and Wellbeing event. The Advanced Training Orientation was particularly well received and provided trainees with an opportunity to hear from fellow trainees, supervisors and College representatives. We recognise that a similar event for adult medicine trainees is challenging given the variable expectations between different subspecialties, but would be keen to hear if this would be valued by trainees in the future.

Many of you sat the Divisional Clinical Examination this year. We congratulate those who were successful, and commiserate with those who were not this time. Some paediatric trainees have raised concerns about equity between sites, particularly in view of local interpretation of policies around access to mobile phones, how and where time is spent in breaks, and what examination assistants can and cannot do. There have also been concerns about the timeliness of feedback, particularly for unsuccessful candidates, and the impact of examiners arriving late to cases of the day. We have written to the Clinical Examination Committee – Paediatrics & Child Health to escalate these concerns, and they have provided us with a detailed response. They have committed to clarify instructions to improve consistency between sites. They recognise the importance of feedback to all candidates and would like to know about delays in this (please feel free to contact us so that we can escalate cases if needed). They have also informed us that there are strategies in place for situations where procedural issues may impact on exam outcomes, such as examiners arriving late in the case where rooms are spread out. These strategies are not always clear to candidates on the day, but did you know you are able to write to the College immediately after the exam if you believe a procedural issue has adversely impacted your performance? While not a hidden rule, many candidates are unaware of this avenue.

As 2019 draws to a close, we are reviewing the year and setting priorities for 2020, including improved events with a broader focus for trainees. We want to hear from you about what really matters. Please contact us at to let us know.

To learn more about your Trainee Committee including who is representing you, please see our webpage.

Dr Aimee Wiseman, Paediatrics and Child Health Co-Chair

Dr David Martens, Adult Internal Medicine Co-Chair

NZ Trainees Day banner

RACP Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees' Day

Whether you’re a Basic or Advanced Trainee, the RACP Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees' Day will be an inspiring day for wherever you are in your training journey. Held on Saturday, 4 April 2020 at the Heritage Hotel Queenstown, the event is developed by trainees for trainees.

Topics will range from big picture issues to professional skills-building, honest story-telling and the annual RACP Trainees' Dinner.

This is your opportunity to connect with the wider trainee community, take time out to think strategically about your career, and hear practical wisdom from experienced professionals.

Workshops include:

  • orientations for Basic Trainees and New Fellows
  • research
  • interview tips for landing your first consultant job
  • clinical exam preparation.
Guest Speaker: Dr Art Nahill

Art is originally from Boston and grew up as a long-suffering, yet faithful Red Sox fan. He attended Yale University and after three years as a high-school science teacher; obtained his medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Mount Auburn Hospital and spent the next twelve years practicing and teaching in general medicine in the Boston area before moving to New Zealand with his Kiwi wife and two children in 2005.

Since changing hemispheres, Art has worked in the General Medicine Department of Auckland Hospital as a consultant physician, (former) Clinical Director, award-winning clinical teacher, and the current Director of Education. He is also a widely published, award-winning poet.

Art will be speaking at Trainees’ Day on rethinking our healthcare system. Find out more about the event and speakers today.

Aotearoa NZ Trainees’ Day is supported as a recognised skills day by New Zealand District Health Boards and attendance costs are reimbursable. For more information email the RACP Aotearoa NZ team.

Register today

Trainee selection experiences

The College is currently running a short, anonymous pulse survey, asking trainees to share their selection experiences from the last nine months. If you are a trainee, please complete the survey via the email link you received on Tuesday, 26 November. If you work with or supervise trainees, please encourage them to take part. The survey closes Monday, 9 December 2019.

Every year we receive a small mix of informal and formal feedback about different experiences during selection. While the RACP is not involved directly in the recruitment and selection of trainees, we would like to be aware of their views. A summary of the results will be shared with all members on the RACP website and with key committees across the College.

If you have any questions please email Member Services or call 1300 MYRACP (1300 697 227)/+61 2 9256 5444 (for outside Australia).

New online course on working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers


Learn how to work more sensitively and effectively with migrant, refugee and asylum seeker patients in this new online course.

The course provides relevant facts and practical strategies for good cross-cultural communication and facilitating easier navigation of the healthcare system. The course includes the perspectives and stories of a diverse range of individuals to help show the full picture.

Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Access the course

Basic Training Requirements for 2019 and applications for 2020

The deadline for 2019 annual training requirements are coming up and online registrations for the 2020 clinical year are open.
Certification of the training year depends on successful completion of training requirements prior to the deadline.
Online registrations for Basic Trainees can be found on the Basic Training Handbooks.
Please note the following dates for your training area and region:
Basic Trainees (NZ)
2019 Training requirements are due by Friday, 20 December 2019
Annual registrations close Friday, 31 January 2020
Basic Trainees (AU)
2019 Training requirements are due by Friday, 31 January 2020
Annual registrations close Friday, 28 February 2020

Contacting Basic Training
Please make sure to contact Basic Training Australia through the new email address as is no longer forwarding emails.

Changes to key education policies

The RACP has reviewed and updated the Progression Through Training, Flexible Training and Recognition of Prior Learning policies. The changes apply to all RACP trainees and will take effect from August 2020.

The changes:

  • respond to feedback from trainees, committees and members
  • improve the clarity of the documents
  • respond to how the policies are working in practice
  • align the language to apply to all training programs (including the new Basic Training Curricula)
  • ensure that the provisions for flexibility and time limits to complete programs are benchmarked to other medical colleges and universities.

The biggest change is in the Flexible Training policy (item 4.3). The current rule requires part-time trainees to complete the same number of work-based assessment tools as full-time trainees.  

In response to overwhelming support, part-time trainees will be able to pro-rata the number of work-based assessment tools to the amount of training they have been approved for.  The change will still collect multiple observation and assessments to inform progression decisions while reducing the demand on part time trainees to a more reasonable level.   

Changes to the policies are considered low impact and will take effect from August 2020.

More information is available on the RACP website.

New Victorian Director of Advanced Training (PCHD)

Dr. Philippa Bolton is the newly appointed Director of Advanced Training for Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) trainees in Victoria.

Dr Bolton invites you to contact her for advice and support.

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