Trainee News - September 2016

Creating a sense of community and collegiality amongst trainees was one of the key priorities identified by the College Trainees’ Committee (CTC) at their recent planning day. 

The first step to creating a trainees' community is the RACP Trainees' Facebook page. Launched this month, the closed group page aims to create an online community for RACP trainees to connect with each other. 

During the long hours of study, lonely nights on call and seemingly never ending ward rounds, which leave your bladder bursting and stomach growling, it is easy to forget that we are all in this together. 

Similarly, we want to be able to share the successes of fellow trainees from the first paper they published and the teaching activities they’ve instigated to the ultra-marathon they ran in the Sahara and the photography masterpieces they’ve created. 

We want to connect the lone trainee in Cradle Mountain* with the groups of trainees in capital cities to be able to share our stories, our experiences and our resources.

Your MIN is required for approval to join the group to protect the site from becoming inundated with companies promoting products and unrelated activities.

This is the only Facebook page for trainees that is administered by the CTC and RACP. You will receive information about training opportunities, news events, and grants and prizes from the RACP as well as share your news and any interesting articles that you think are relevant to RACP trainees.

To further fortify the collective trainee voice, the CTC is looking to strengthen the relationships with trainee groups from other colleges and trainee organisations. 

As RACP trainees, and being members of the largest and most diverse training college, we are perfectly placed to advocate for the needs of doctors in training. The Trainees' Facebook page is where you can discuss the issues affecting your training and what you would like to see.

Finally, Trainees’ Day will be held in Melbourne next year on Sunday, 7 May 2017.

The theme is ‘Physicians of the Future’ and work is underway to design a program that will focus on issues on the horizon for all doctors, as well as providing sessions to further your professional development. It’s also an excellent opportunity to meet trainees from all over Australia and New Zealand. Keep an eye out for further updates.

We want to hear from you. If you would like to contact the CTC please email your ideas, events or concerns to

* There are currently no trainees in Cradle Mountain. This example is purely for literary effect.

Dr Tina Marinelli
College Trainees' Committee Chair

RACP Trainees Facebook Group

Exciting news! An RACP Trainees Facebook Group has been created. The purpose of the group is to provide a space for trainees to meet and share their experiences, tips, events and ideas with each other as well as receive trainee relevant material from the RACP. 

The page is a closed Facebook group, only accessible to RACP trainees. It’s your own place to meet online and swap news and views.

The aim is to use this well-known social media platform to create a vibrant online trainee community.

The ​RACP will post trainee related news and material, but it’s up to you as trainees to post regularly, sharing thoughts, ideas, links to interesting articles and more – which will make this page a must visit destination for the RACP trainee community.

To join the group click ‘join group’ on the group page and email your MIN number and a link to your Facebook page to the ​RACP’s social media co-ordinator Once your RACP membership has been confirmed, you will have access to the group and can post.

Please bear in mind when posting, that Facebook’s rules regarding comments apply, and that doctor-patient confidentiality must always be preserved.

Important changes to exams take effect soon

As examination registration dates near, it is important that you are aware of changes to exam policies that will impact all trainees.

The Progression Through Training and Flexible Training Policies were reviewed in 2015 through a member-led policy revision process. As a result, a number of changes will apply from 1 January 2017 in Australia. For all New Zealand trainees, these changes will apply to the 2017 year which commences 12 December 2016 for Registrars and 27 November 2016 for House officers.

The changes include:

  • a reduction in the number of Divisional Written and Clinical Examination attempts, from five attempts to three attempts per examination. Transitional arrangements for the Divisional Examination will support the introduction of the changes without disadvantaging current basic trainees
  • new trainees from 2017 (for all New Zealand trainees this is from 12 December 2016 for Registrars and 27 November 2016 for House officers), must now complete 36 months of Basic Training (BT), including examination attempts, within eight years. There will be a five year time limit between completing BT and commencing Advanced Training.

These changes aim to support timely progression through training while maintaining flexible training options for all trainees.

Further information on these polices and the transitional arrangements, including the full policy document and At a Glance document can be found on the RACP website or by contacting the RACP at (Australia) or (New Zealand). 


Important changes to the 2017 Divisional Examinations 

There are a number of important changes to the 2017 Divisional Examinations that will impact all examination applicants. These include: 

  • changes to the 2017 application process 
    • late applications for the Written and Clinical Examinations will not be accepted 
    • application reminders will be discontinued 
    • if you are an Australian candidate re-sitting the Clinical Examination in 2017 you may be allocated to an examination site in New Zealand  
  • intention to sit examinations 
    • you are requested to indicate your intended examination dates. 
Please see the Communications to Basic Trainees – 2017 Divisional Examinations on the RACP website for more details on these changes and additional application information.  

Examination dates

The 2017 dates for the Divisional Written Examination and Divisional Clinical Examinations are now confirmed and are available on the RACP website.

New Zealand Trainees’ Day 2017 will help trainees build confidence in research

The New Zealand Trainees’ Committee is pleased to announce that the annual New Zealand Trainees’ Day event will be held on Friday, 3 to Saturday, 4 March 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. 

Excitingly, next year Trainees’ Day is expanding into a two day event – reflective of the increasing success and impact of this event which sees roughly one tenth of all New Zealand physician trainees attend each year. 

An innovative feature of New Zealand Trainees’ Day 2017, is a new workshop session on the Friday afternoon, ‘Research Kickstart’. This is designed to equip trainees with basic skills and insider tips on executing successful and meaningful research projects during their training. 

“We’ve noticed that trainees often feel daunted and underequipped when it comes to research projects,” commented Dr Jin Russell, the Paediatric Co-Chair of the New Zealand Trainees’ Committee. 

“Many trainees feel uncertain about how to set up a project, feel blind to the process, and struggle with executing it on time. We hope that the new ‘Research Kickstart’ session will help trainees feel more confident in developing their own research projects.”

An orientation session aimed at basic trainees who are just beginning on their RACP trainee journey will run alongside the ‘Research Kickstart’ workshop.

The Trainees’ Day program will also include popular talks relating to professional skills, planning your training, examination success, and honest story-telling from New Zealand Fellows. 

“Trainees’ Day is always a hit. Trainees consistently report how encouraged they feel at the end of the conference,” Jin states. “It’s an opportunity to travel with friends, to take time out to think broadly and strategically about your career, and hear practical wisdom from older physicians.” 

Watch out for announcements about registering for this event.  

From Uganda to Papua New Guinea, developing skills overseas

I have a favourite disease – Tuberculosis (TB). It’s not sexy or high profile despite 9.6 million infections and 1.5 million deaths a year, however, we are excited about having the first new drugs in 40 years.  

It all started when, as a Basic Trainee, and having completed a Diploma in Tropical Medicine in Liverpool, I went to Arua, Uganda. 

I was working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as the TB doctor in an HIV/TB project facing the challenges of a resource constrained environment, managing a 40-bed inpatient TB ward and an outpatient cohort of around 800 patients.  

Then last year (as an ID/micro registrar) I worked in Daru, Papua New Guinea, a small island facing a large outbreak of TB/DR-TB.  

I worked for the Burnet Institute providing technical support to the provincial TB program.  

In Daru the impact of TB is clear – whole families devastated by both TB and the impacts of prolonged and often toxic treatment. 

However, success is also clearly visible – from patients’ response to treatment, to the significant program improvements in treatment success, and access to new medicines for those with no other treatment options. 

I have been privileged to work with patients and staff from a range of cultures and to see some unique parts of the world.  Both my personal life and medical practice are richer for it.  

Taking time out from training to work elsewhere provides an opportunity to develop a range of new skills and a chance to see the world.  It is possible at any point in training, and although the implications on training need to be considered (e.g. accreditation, delays in training and exam timing) I would encourage everyone to take any opportunities that come your way.  

You may also discover a new favourite disease. 

For more information: 

Furin J, Cox H. Outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis on Daru Island Lancet Respir Med 2016; May;4(5):347-349

Kase P, Dakulala P, Bieb S. Outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis on Daru Island: an update Lancet Respir Med 2016; Aug;4(8):e40 

Dr Veronica Playle
RACP Trainee

Basic Training Curricula Renewal – have your say

The RACP is seeking feedback from its members and external stakeholders on its revised curriculum standards for Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health. 

The new curricula have been designed to make competency-based training and progression, practical in the workplace, replacing tick-box training requirements with real-life work tasks. The curricula consist of three main parts – standards, teaching and learning, and assessment.

In the same way our clinical practice needs to evolve in response to developments in our understanding of health and illness, so too does our physician education and training. This includes the way teaching, learning and assessment are designed and delivered.

The Basic Training curricula will be further developed over the next few years, led by the dedicated group of 36 Fellows and seven trainees who make up the Basic Training Curriculum Review Working Groups.

The Working Groups would like your feedback on the proposed curricula. You can have your say via a series of questions on our web page which is best viewed using Google Chrome.

For more information on the Basic Training Curricula Renewal, please phone +61 2 8076 6390 or email:

RACP Trainee Research Awards – regional competitions

The RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence identifies and acknowledges the best trainee research presentations in the fields of adult medicine and paediatric medicine. 

Each region hosts a competition and two representatives from each region, one in the field of adult medicine and one in the field of paediatric medicine, will be selected to present their research in Melbourne in May 2017. 

All members are welcome to attend the regional competitions.

Regional competition dates

Region Date and time  Venue  Registration 
New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory 6pm Thursday, 17 November RACP Sydney
Fairley Room
Level 9
52 Phillip St
Northern Territory Saturday, 26 November (held as part of the Northern Territory Annual Scientific Meeting) The Waterfront Lecture Theatre Charles Darwin University
21 Kitchener Drive
and streamed live to the Centre for Remote Health, Alice Springs.
Go to the Northern Territory Annual Scientific Meeting website.
Queensland 6pm Wednesday, 9 November RACP Brisbane
Royal Brisbane Place
Unit 20, Level 3
17 Bowen Bridge Rd
 South Australia 6.30pm Thursday, 13 October RACP Adelaide
Suite 7, Level 2
257 Melbourne St
North Adelaide
 Victoria 7pm Wednesday, 5 October RACP Melbourne
Level 2
417 St Kilda Rd
Western Australia (in the field of paediatric medicine)
12pm Thursday, 6 October Princess Margaret Hospital, McDonalds Lecture Theatre
Level 2, Administration Building
Roberts Rd
Western Australia (in the field of adult medicine) 5.30pm Thursday, 13 October RACP Perth
Unit 1-3
24 Leura St
New Zealand (in the field of paediatric medicine) Thursday, 17 November (held as part of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting) Bethlehem College
Go to the Paediatric Society of New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting website.
New Zealand (in the field of adult medicine) TBA TBA  Email

For more information on these awards go to the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence page

Expressions of Interest

College Trainees' Committee representative positions

The College Trainees’ Committee (CTC), Chaired by Dr Tina Marinelli, is the peak College body representing the interests of trainees. It has 16 representatives from our Divisions, Faculties and regional Trainees' Committees throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The CTC is focused on a number of priorities, including:

  • improving communication with trainees, including the development of a Trainee Communications Strategy
  • continued advocacy on behalf of trainees in areas such as Soft Funding for paediatric positions, Selection into Training, Capacity to Train, the review of the accreditation of training sites and academic pathways that integrate training and research
  • ongoing development and implementation of trainee orientation days
  • embedding the Annual Trainees’ Day as part of the RACP Congress
  • advocating for the health and wellbeing of doctors. ​

The CTC champions the trainee perspective and ensures the trainee voice is heard across our College. Being a part of the Trainees’ Committee provides a unique opportunity to engage with the College and represent the needs and voice of trainees on key matters such as Selection into Training, assessment and overall education.

The CTC is currently seeking applicants for a number of representative positions including: 

  • a trainee who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 
  • a trainee from the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • a trainee from the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.​

Terms are for two years during which the Committee will meet four times per year, two face-to-face meetings and two teleconferences. 

To register your interest please email by 5pm (AEDT) Wednesday, 19 October 2016 to submit:

  • an Expression of Interest form – clearly stating where you are in your training and when you expect to finish
  • CV – maximum two pages.

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