Western Australia – April 2017

A message from the Western Australia State Committee Chair

Dear Fellows and trainees,

Welcome to the latest edition of the WA eNewsletter. 

The new State Committee held its first meeting this year on 22 February 2017. Physician Wellness and the supports available from the college has been a crucially important item.

Important work has been achieved by the College regarding physician wellness and I would like to bring your attention to the number of College resources available to address the health of physicians. The RACP support helpline via Converge International has been developed to provide members with access to confidential counselling, coaching and support for workplace and personal issues, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are a number of other support services for health professionals available.

The Training Support Unit coordinates support for trainees who are experiencing training difficulties and assists supervisors of these trainees. For any queries or concerns please contact TrainingSupport@racp.edu.au to speak to staff in this area. 

The Western Australia State Committee is committed to supporting our physicians in their training journey and beyond. I urge all members to be aware of these services and share with colleagues and trainees. 

The RACP eLearning library offers a wealth of free online educational resources for Fellows and trainees. eLearning courses cover a range of topics including Communication, Leadership and Management, Supervision and Research. Completing RACP eLearning modules is also an activity eligible for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits in MyCPD.

I would also like to congratulate the RACP Fellows who have been awarded 2017 Australia Day Honours, this is a fantastic achievement and I thank you for your service. 

I would like to welcome our two new committee members, Specialist Paediatrician Dr Murali Narayanan and the Paediatric Co-Chair of the Western Australia Trainee Committee Dr Kristen Lindsay. This now gives us a full complement on State Committee.
I look forward to seeing many of you at this year’s RACP Congress in Melbourne on from 8 to 10 May.

If you have any contributions for the Western Australian Committee please email us at RACPWA@racp.edu.au 

Dr Michael Lucas
WA State Committee Chair

Physician wellness – Second victims of medical errors

Dr Raghu Dharmapuri MBBS MD FRACP

Medical errors occur at most health institutes at some point or another. Medical errors can lead to catastrophic events. First victims of medical errors are patients and their families who are affected by the adverse event. The second victims are the healthcare professionals involved in errors that affected the patients while caring for them1. Wu first described the second victim phenomenon in 2000. While the patient and their families affected by the fatal error deserves immediate attention, the nurses, doctors, and pharmacists involved in the error need help too1.

The prevalence of second victims of medical errors ranges from 10.4 per cent  to 43.4 per cent according to an Italian literature review2. Second victims can experience profound emotional and physical disturbances as a result of their involvement in the medical error. A Spanish study3 reported that the second victims experience feelings of guilt (58.8 per cent), anxiety (49.6 per cent), re-living the event (42.2 per cent), tiredness (39.4 per cent), insomnia (38 per cent) and persistent feelings of insecurity (32.8 per cent). Medical errors can impact the second victim’s professional and personal lives both in the short term and the long term. Unfortunately, second victims often do not receive education and training to cope with the impact of medical errors3.

Five rights of second victims

Denham C proposed five human rights of second victims, which can be remembered by acronym Trust4.

T – Treatment that is just
R – Respect
U – Understanding and compassion
S - Supportive care
T – Transparency and opportunity to contribute

The second victims of errors who may be referred to as ‘wounded healers’ will be benefited by ongoing support from their peers and organisation and by involving them in the process of learning from errors.

The principles for supporting the second victims can be based on the proposed five rights of second victims. In addition, the second victims may seek advice and support from their medical defence organisation and from counselling services offered by their health institute. 

The ‘third victim’ of medical errors is the health care organisation involved4.

Susan Scott et al.5 suggested establishing a second victim rapid-response team at health care institutes similar to medical rapid response team in order to support the second victim at the earliest following a medical error.

1.Wu AW. Medical error: the second victim. The doctor who makes the mistake needs help too. BMJ. 2000; 320(7237): 726-727. 
2.Ig Sanita Pubbl. 2014 Jan-Feb; 70(1): 9-28. Second victims of medical errors: a systematic review of the literature.  Panella M, Rinaldi C, Vanhaecht K, Donnarumma C, Tozzi Q, Di Stanislao F.
3. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015 Apr 9; 15:151. The aftermath of adverse events in Spanish primary care and hospital health professionals. Mira JJ, Carrillo I, Lorenzo S et al.
4. Denham C. TRUST: the 5 rights of the second victim. J Patient Saf 2007; 3(2): 107–119. 
5. Scott SD, Hirschinger LE, Cox KR, McCoig M, et al. Caring for our own: deploying a systemwide second victim rapid response team. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2010;36(5):233-240. 

Recent events

Basic Training Orientation Sessions

Basic Training Orientation sessions have been held at Sir Charles Gardiner, Fiona Stanley, Royal Perth and Princess Margaret Hospitals in the past two months.

These sessions have been well attended and covered a range of topics including information about the RACP, requirements of Basic Training, tips on surviving your training and building your portfolio and maintaining work-life balance. The combined session was held on Thursday, 23 March and a full report will be contained in the next edition of the State newsletter.

GP Open Day a success

Rockingham General Hospital (RGH) recently hosted a GP Open Day to allow general practitioners (GPs) and care plan nurses in the Rockingham region to familiarise themselves with RGH services and specialist staff.

Attendees were treated to a number of presentations by RGH consultants on various clinical topics relevant to primary health care, as well as educated about the referrals process.

The day was also an opportunity for participants to meet our staff and ask questions and provide feedback to hospital consultants.

RGH consultant physician, nephrologist and WA State Committee member  Dr Angela Graves said the open day was a networking opportunity for both the primary healthcare professionals and RGH staff. 

“Events like these are a great opportunity for GPs and nurses to learn more about our health service, and for us to strengthen our ties with the community,” she said.

Upcoming events

View upcoming events in Western Australia.

Expressions of Interest

We have introduced a new way of advertising Expressions of Interest.

You can now check the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you. 

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