Trainee News – December 2016

The College Trainees' Committee’s (CTC) final meeting for 2016 was held on 23 November and provided time to reflect on what we have achieved over the last 12 months and to look forward to what we would like to achieve in 2017 and beyond.

Two of our major goals this year were to improve communication with trainees and to create a sense of community amongst trainees. 

The RACP Trainees Facebook group was launched in September and at the time of writing had 600 members, which is eight per cent of all RACP trainees. The page allows the RACP to communicate with trainees, with regular posts relating to training matters such as information on local events, links to educational resources and applications for prizes and scholarships.

More importantly, the Facebook group allows trainees to communicate with each other. It is a means for us to share our experiences and resources, to spark debate about issues affecting trainees and to connect with trainees, who we might otherwise not know existed. Ideally we would like to see the majority of the posts coming from trainees with the odd update or two from the RACP’s alias Sophie Treneman. This page is for us as trainees and I would encourage you all to ​use this resource as a way of enriching your training experience.

The CTC have had input into some significant projects within the RACP. Trainees have been involved in the ‘Capacity to Train’ and ‘Selection into Training’ projects. These projects, together with other work being done by the RACP, aim to standardise entry into physician training, ensure that trainees have access to high-quality training positions and graduate from RACP training as world-class physicians.

We know that education is the core business of the RACP and trainees have been involved in the RACP’s Education Reform. We are particularly excited about the work being done on the Basic Training lecture series. It aims to provide both adult medicine and paediatric trainees with a widely accessible, up-to-date and relevant resource to aid with their preparation for the Written and Clinical Examinations.

Trainees’ Day 2017 will be held in Melbourne on 7 May with the theme ‘Physicians of the Future’. 

We have an excellent group of speakers confirmed with a mixture of interactive and didactic sessions. Some sessions are specifically designed to help you to prepare for your future career as a physician, such as an overview from the RACP Dean on Workforce Data. This includes trends in training, a round table discussion on decision making in palliative care and the ins and outs of writing grant applications. 

Other sessions focus on issues that will affect health in the future such as climate change and the effects of technology on health. We’re even focusing on the here-and-now with an ‘Exam Survival’ session for pre-exam trainees and a ‘Transition from Follower to Leader’ session for trainees who are ready to take on leadership roles.

Trainees’ Day is a fantastic opportunity to expand your horizons beyond the books and to meet and socialise with trainees from across Australia and New Zealand. The RACP Congress starts on 8 May and has sessions incorporated into the program that are relevant for trainees. Congress is particularly relevant for general medicine trainees who are looking to attend a local conference.

The CTC exists to represent all RACP trainees, as always if you have any questions, suggestions or are interested in getting involved on a local or national level please contact us via

Dr Tina Marinelli
College Trainees' Committee Chair

Trainees’ Day 2017 – Focusing on you, your training and your future career

Trainees’ Day 2017 is an important event in the calendar for all trainees and we are working on a program that will focus on you, your questions and issues that will affect your future career and practices.

Trainees’ Day will feature presentations and interactive sessions where you will:  

  • learn about topics that will affect your future practice 
  • gain skills to help shape your future career 
  • meet and interact with trainees from across Australia and New Zealand
  • network with global thinkers and healthcare leaders
  • socialise with peers and forge new professional ties.

"Our diversity will make these discussions lively and inspiring as we bring our various skills and experiences to the table," said Dr Hong Wu, Chair of the Trainees' Day Organising Committee. 

"You're encouraged to join us at Trainees’ Day 2017 and come together as trainees connected through your common goal of completing specialist training and providing our patients with the best care possible."

Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017
Time: 8.55am – 5.20pm
Cost: AU $150 per person. Dinner AU $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.

The Bush Physician by Dr Pip Tallis 

There is a saying that you haven’t visited Katherine properly, until you have seen the inside of the Katherine Hospital.
Daily life for a medical registrar on the wards in a rural hospital like Katherine starts with reviewing a septic man who walked into triage. Where else does sepsis walk around except in the resilient men and women of the outback. 
I then convince the next patient, a touring hiker allegedly bitten by a snake, to stay for our protocol of “24 hour snake obs”.
I work my way through a ward round rich with culture, pathology and different languages. 

Having mastered the indigenous word for poo – 'guna', I seem to get by. 

Ward rounds are part outside on the veranda. Life inside, even when unwell, is far too unnatural for most of my patients. 
The pathology overwhelms me – requiring magnificent differentials for every patient. Nothing follows the text book and rarities are daily life on the ward. 
Retrievals ‘out bush’ are exciting but frightening. With no Intensive Care Unit, it’s just me and the patient, waiting for the plane. Similar to the first rain after a ‘build up’ in the Northern Territory, the long awaited arrival of the plane brings a calming relief to a tense situation. 
As doctors, any challenge presented is a challenge accepted. Nothing beats the fist pump into the air when your blood, sweat and tears saves a patient from the retrieval out to a foreign town and hospital.  
Most of all, as the medical registrar in the outback you witness all the medical presentations, reviews and consults. There is no chance for that really fascinating, publishable case to get past your nose. You see it all. This gives such a satisfying and comprehensive experience where patients start to become your own as you quickly learn the people of the town. 
Perspective and lifestyles are different. What’s best in the city isn’t always best in the country. My favourite notion that I think is beautiful in just three words, is being able to “pass on country”. ​Aboriginal people have an extraordinarily beautiful culture and relationship with their country. Placing priorities as a bush physician on this idea of dying in the community means more than most of us can imagine. 

Dr Philippa (Pip) Tallis
Basic Physician Trainee
Royal Darwin Hospital & Katherine District Hospital


Trainee Research Awards across Australia and New Zealand

The RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence competition is held to select State, Territory and New Zealand representatives to present their research work in Melbourne in May 2017. 

Two trainees, one presenting in the field of adult medicine and one presenting in the field of paediatric medicine, are selected by the respective regional committee.

We are delighted to announce the following winners:
Adult Medicine category
Dr Jun Dai (NSW)
Dr Jamie Tan (WA)
Dr Mastura Monif (VIC)
Dr Yi Foong (TAS)
Dr Samuel Chan (QLD)
Dr Ana Balabanski (SA) 
Dr Kristen Overton (NT)

The New Zealand Adult Medicine winner will be announced 14 December 2016. 

Paediatric category
Dr Karrnan Pathmanandavel (NSW) 
Dr Anoushka Krishnan (WA) 
Dr Rosie Murphy (VIC)
Dr Gopan Hariharan (TAS) 
Dr Chris Richmond (QLD)
Dr Anna Lithgow (NT) 
Dr Jin Russell (NZ) 

South Australia had no Paediatric submissions. 

The College Congress 2017 will be held in Melbourne from 8 to 10 May. Register to see the wonderful work produced by the above trainees. 

RACP Trainees' Facebook Group

The RACP Trainees' Facebook Group was launched in September and since then 600 trainees have joined, regularly posting thoughts, ideas and links to interesting articles.

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. 

Trainees have posted on topics including mindfulness, work/life balance and Evolve while many have ‘liked’ that the newly developed Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Advanced Training Program will be open to trainees starting in 2017.

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.

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 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.

Tune in to Pomegranate – The RACP podcast

Pomegranate is a free monthly medical podcast created by physicians for physicians. The show is produced by the RACP’s Learning Support Unit with physician input guiding every step of development – from deciding on an episode’s theme to peer review of the show’s final content. Episodes of the 20-minute program, along with all Pomegranate episodes, are available to download or stream on both iTunes or Subscribe on Android.

New episodes of Pomegranate are released on the last Tuesday of every month.

 Episodes include:

  • Law at end-of-life
  • Antibiotic resistance – Are we all doomed?
  • Obesity Inside Out
  • Physician, Heal Thyself
  • Mind the (gender) gap
  • Methamphetamine – Beyond the Hype​

Hear the latest episodes where you like, when you like, for FREE.

Expressions of Interest 

EOI: Policy Revision Working Group, Special Consideration for Assessment Policy, closes 16 December 2016

The College Education Committee (CEC) is seeking to appoint Members (Fellows and trainees) to join its Development Working Group on the Special Consideration for Assessment Policy revision through an expression of interest (EOI) process.

This policy defines the requirements and processes for dealing with requests for special consideration in relation to centrally administered assessments undertaken by RACP trainees (Divisions, Faculties and Chapters in Australia and New Zealand). 

The policy applies to all summative assessments (written and clinical) conducted by the RACP and the trainees undertaking these assessments.

 Special consideration issues covered by the policy are: 

  • permanent and/or chronic impairment or disability which affect performance
  • temporary impairments, including acute illness or injury, compassionate grounds and other serious disruptive events
  • religious grounds
  • cultural or other circumstance
  • technical problems during the assessment
  • financial hardship.

​The key responsibilities of the Working Group are to:

  • consider findings of the policy evaluation phase
  • draft a policy based upon the evaluation findings
  • develop implementation and communications plans
  • develop supporting resources for the policy and process.

Interested Fellows and trainees must complete and submit the attached EOI form with a CV. It should include a supporting statement outlining how their knowledge, qualifications, experience and how their interest in policy development will contribute to the objectives of this Working Group. 

The EOI form and CV must be emailed to by Friday, ​16 December 2016.

Successful applicants must be available to attend two full day face-to-face meetings in Sydney. The first meeting has been scheduled to take place in March 2017. 
For further information, please contact Leah Brumer at or +61 2 9256 5471.

Expressions of Interest open for new RACP podcast editorial group

The RACP is seeking to appoint a Virtual Editorial Group (VEG) for its podcast, Pomegranate. 

The group will be composed of up to 12 Fellows and Advanced Trainees who will assist in determining topics of interest for the podcast and their relevance to the physician audience. 

Members will also review drafts of episodes before they are published and provide feedback for the program's producers.

Correspondence will be predominantly via email and the anticipated time commitment is about one hour per month. 

The VEG will report to the CPD Committee, and members will be eligible for CPD points for their contributions. 

Fellows and Advanced Trainees are invited to apply to join the VEG by Sunday, 15 January 2017. If interested, please send a CV and completed Expression of Interest form to along with a brief supporting statement outlining:

• how your qualifications, experience and interests will contribute to the editorial group
• any prior experience in an editorial or content reviewer capacity
• some podcasts you enjoy listening to (for professional or personal interest) and why.

EOI: Basic Trainee Representative for the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Education Committee

The Paediatrics & Child Health Division is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from one Basic Trainee to join the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Education Committee (PDEC). 

The PDEC oversees the implementation of College Educational Policies and the Paediatrics & Child Health Basic and Advanced Training Programs.  More information is available in the Terms of Reference (TOR). 

The College recognises that trainees, as future Fellows of the RACP, have a very important role in the RACP’s training program. As such, the RACP involves trainees in all aspects of its complex governance. 

Roles/responsibilities of trainee representatives include but are not limited to: 

  • commitment to regular attendance at meetings of the Committee 
  • providing trainee perspective to the issues of concern
  • representing trainees’ interests
  • advocating on behalf of trainees.

The term of office is for two years. PDEC meets throughout the year, with three face-to-face meetings in Sydney, and up to four teleconferences throughout the year, as required. The representative will need to be available to attend the majority of these meetings to provide a Basic Trainee perspective. 

To obtain an EOI form and a copy of the TOR, please email  Expressions of interest (no more than one page) must be received by close of business Friday, 6 January 2017.


CCCH Trainees – Contact your trainee representative 

All Chapter of Community Child Health (CCCH) trainees who would like to touch base with their trainee representative on the CCCH committee are encouraged to contact Dr Kirsten Furley. The committee meets four times per year so there are a number of opportunities to raise trainee issues at these meetings.
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