Trainee News - March 2017

What is well-being? The definition varies depending on who you ask however, definitions centre around a state of psychological, physical, social and economic comfort.

What does well-being look like for specialist trainees? Amongst many other things, to me, well-being as a specialist trainee is working in a job from which you derive interest and satisfaction, free from bullying and intimidation. It is being appropriately remunerated for the work that you do and having opportunities for future employment. It is being able to learn from your job and having adequate time to study so that you can progress your career as a doctor. It is having ample time away from work so that you can spend time with your family and friends and pursue your interests outside of medicine. It is having the time and energy to exercise and eat well (we're always encouraging our patients to do this). But most importantly, it is having time to reflect, to rest and recuperate so that you can continue to function in your busy and often stressful life.

The College Trainees Committee (CTC), along with the RACP, is committed to improving the well-being of trainees. At our most recent meeting we discussed ways to assess the challenges and stressors that are affecting RACP trainees and what interventions may help trainees to improve their well-being. 

One of the challenges that the RACP faces is the complexity of the training environment. There are issues such as examinations, curriculum and supervision that are directly under the auspices of the RACP. But then there are issues such as rosters, over-time and rural secondments, which are largely controlled by employers.

The CTC and other trainee representatives continue to have input through various working groups and committees, into all aspects of RACP training and development. We are looking forward to changes that are being made in the education sphere that will enhance specialist training and streamline processes to reduce stress on trainees.

We will continue to advocate for RACP trainees and to form partnerships with other trainee organisations so that we can ensure that all trainees are working in a safe and supportive environment.

Some stressors are unavoidable, thus we would like to explore ways to equip trainees with the skills needed to deal with stress. 

In particular we are excited about the development of a wellness module Physician Self-Care and Wellbeing which is set to be released and available for all RACP members on the RACP website later in the year.

We are also excited about the upcoming Trainees’ Day, which will be held in May, immediately before this year's Congress in Melbourne. The program is designed by trainees, to appeal to trainees of all levels. There will be sessions on cognitive bias, the effects of technology on health, decision making in palliative care and workforce issues, just to name a few. It is a great opportunity to focus on your professional development and to meet and socialise with other trainees. Registrations are now open, and with a program specifically designed to integrate trainee interests I would encourage you all to stay on for Congress.

Getting involved with the RACP is a great way to diversify your career, gain skills in leadership and medical education and to meet colleagues from all over Australia and New Zealand. 

Whether you’re interested in technology, education or advocacy, there are roles available within the RACP to suit every trainee.
I encourage you all to keep an eye out for the expressions of interest applications that are regularly circulated, alternatively register your interest with so that we can let you know when a role that may be of interest to you comes up.

As always the CTC would love to hear your ideas, concerns and suggestions, please contact us via 

Examination applications closing soon

Applications for the Divisional Clinical Examination in Adult Medicine, and all AFRM examinations (excluding Module 1 – October) close Friday, 7 April 2017. 

Late applications will not be accepted.

Candidates experiencing any issues that may affect their ability to submit an application are encouraged to contact the Examinations Unit at as soon as possible to discuss their options. This must be done prior to the application closing date.


To find out if you are eligible to sit an examination in 2017 please contact your training program’s education officer.

Basic Training: or or phone +61 2 9256 5454 (Aust) +64 04 472 6713 (NZ)

Rehabilitation Medicine: or phone +61 2 8076 6350

Public Health Medicine: or phone +61 2 8076 6218

Occupational and Environmental Medicine: or phone + 61 2 8076 6388

Sexual Health Medicine: or phone +61 2 8247 6248

Further information 

Candidates considering sitting examinations in 2017 are advised to read the examination page on the RACP website for more information including application dates, examination result dates and venues.

Candidates should also familiarise themselves with the relevant education policies when considering undertaking examinations.

For examination application enquires please contact


Come to Melbourne in May to share your training experience at Trainees’ Day 2017

Trainees’ Day 2017 will focus on you, your training and your future career. It is a chance to meet other trainees and share your unique experiences and help each other through training.

RACP trainees are diverse – specialising in different areas, living and working in numerous locations, each with a unique journey to, and through, medical training. It is this diversity that will make discussions lively and inspiring as various skills and experiences come to the table. Sessions will be interactive, challenge your thinking and inspire you as conversations unfold. 

Program highlights include: 

  • Effects of technology on health: How does screen time affect you?
    Dr Amanda Silcock
  • Cognitive bias in clinical decision making: A framework for trainees to understand and recognise their own cognitive biases in clinical work
    Professor Jill Klein
  • Physicians as Global Citizens – a trainee’s journey with international organisations and global health
    Dr Suman Majumdar

View the Trainees’ Day Program on the RACP Congress 2017 website.

Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017
Time: 8.55am – 5.20pm
Cost: A$150 per person. Dinner A$59 per person (does not include beverages or transfers - cash bar available)
Registration: To register go to the Trainees' Day tab on the RACP Congress 2017 website.

Stay on for RACP Congress 2017

Over 800 Fellows and invited guests will be attending RACP Congress 2017. Take the chance to stay on in Melbourne after Trainees’ Day and join RACP Fellows as we discuss the ‘big issues’ relevant to all specialists; obesity, disability, ageing, and end-of-life issues.

The breadth and years of experience and knowledge among RACP Congress speakers and delegates makes it an ideal event for RACP trainees to extend their learning.

Among the speakers will be Australian of the Year for 2017, Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, an international leader in stem cell research. His dedicated research and international leadership has led to ground breaking advances in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, will be a special guest speaker at a session where we will discuss ‘Human right and moral obligations of physicians in the contemporary political environment’.

Several orations will also be delivered throughout Congress by eminent specialists and members of the community.

“All of our oration speakers has a unique story, stories that are inspiring and thought provoking regardless of our own specialties,” said RACP Congress 2017 Lead Fellow, Associate Professor Michael Gabbett.

Named for one of our esteemed Past-Presidents, the Priscilla Kincaid-Smith Oration will be delivered by Professor Brendan Murphy, recently appointed as Chief Medical Officer for Australia. Professor Murphy will discuss the challenges of managing the health care of a nation and the role physicians play in meeting those challenges.

In Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is changing how specialists work with patients living with disability. Mr John Walsh AM is an NDIS board member and he will share his experiences and knowledge of the disability sector when he delivers the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine President’s Oration.

Renowned paediatrician, Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM will deliver the Howard Williams Medal lecture and cardiologist Professor Stephen Nicholls will deliver the Cottrell Memorial Lecture.

Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date: Monday, 8 to Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Registration: Visit to see program and speaker information and to register.

RACP Quarterly – read it online today

Articles in the March/April 2017 issue of RACP Quarterly include:

Trainees – make the most of your College

Trainees are busy people. With working, studying, training, exams and family, there may not seem like there’s much time for anything else.

However, the March 2017 issue of the RACP Quarterly looks at the significant amount of personal gain you can achieve from contributing to the RACP.

Balance is key when it comes to exams

When talking with someone who received the highest mark in the RACP Adult Medicine Written and Clinical Examinations, self-doubt is probably not a theme you’d expect to hear resonate throughout the interview. Yet, it is a recurring motif in the story of Dr Thalib Mojwood, 2016 winner of the Bryan Hudson Medal.


New and improved Learning Needs Analysis tool

Improvements have been made to the Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) tool used by trainees to set training goals and track achievements, in response to member feedback.

The changes to improve the usability of the LNA will be implemented for the second quarter of 2017, and include:

  • a new proficiency rating system that focuses on objective assessment
  • new forms prefilled with trainees’ details and goals
  • a simplified question format
  • improved instructions, additional information and examples to help complete questions
  • the ability for more than one supervisor to be added to the LNA form.

Trainees should complete the Learning Plan of the LNA at the beginning of their training while the Self-evaluation section should be completed at the end of the training period.

Support resources and training on how to use the new LNA tool will be made available prior to implementation.

The revised LNA forms will be available in the RACP portals.

For further information please contact  Basic Training at or Advanced Training at

Minor changes to RACP multiple choice examinations

From 2017 if you are sitting multiple choice question examinations (MCQ) you will be required to use a pen rather than a pencil to complete your answers on the computer-marked answer sheets. This change will affect the Divisional Written, AFRM Module 1 and AFOEM Stage A multiple-choice examinations.

The RACP partners with a specialised assessment services company to process MCQ answer sheets.

Advanced technology and quality assurance protocols are employed to ensure 100 per cent accuracy of scanning and data capture. This scanning process includes manual review of answer sheets wherever anything unusual is flagged.

Improvements in the speed and sensitivity of scanning technology mean that it is now more effective for answers to be recorded in pen instead of pencil.

Please be assured that you will still be able to edit your answer if you change your mind, even if you need to do this multiple times.

Instructions on completing the answer sheets are provided on the day for each examination and are also supplied to candidates following registration for an examination.

If you have any further questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact

New Zealand Medical Student Journal looks at the RACP trainee journey

Read the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Student Journal (NZMSJ) in which the article The Royal Australasian College of Physicians: The Trainee Physician Journey appeared.

The article looks at:

  • the trainee specialists’ journey
  • support for trainees
  • future of physician training
  • beyond training.​

​This article was an RACP contribution to the NZMSJ as one of a series of articles focusing on higher medical education offered in New Zealand. 

Join the RACP Trainees' Facebook Group

The RACP Trainees' Facebook Group is growing in its popularity with more and more trainees requesting to join. The purpose of the group is to provide a space for trainees to meet and share their experiences, support, tips, events and ideas with each other as well as receive trainee relevant material from the RACP.  To join the group click ‘join group’ on the group page and email your MIN and a link to your Facebook page to the RACP’s social media co-ordinator Aidan Simmons. Once your RACP membership has been confirmed, you will have access to the group and can post.  Please note, Facebook’s rules regarding comments apply, and doctor-patient confidentiality must always be preserved. 
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