Frequently asked questions
Public health is a non-clinical specialty. Why is there an emphasis on clinical experience?
Your prevocational training, which is the first 2 years after your medical education, provides you broad exposure to clinical medicine and the Australian/Aotearoa New Zealand healthcare system.
The Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils (CPMEC), comprised of Postgraduate Medical Councils in each state and territory of Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand, is responsible for ensuring junior doctors have structured prevocational training with appropriate educational activities and assessments.
The CPMEC promotes competency development in a structured workplace environment and the importance of consolidating your learning as part of your preparation for a career in Public Health Medicine.
What work may be regarded as a postgraduate year of working in a health-related field?
In order to be eligible for consideration, any work in a health-related field should have:
- been postgraduate work experience that occurred after the completion of a medical degree (MBBS or equivalent)
- made use of medical knowledge or expertise
- involved some structure and supervision
- the person undertaking this work must have maintained their medical registration during this period
It is recognised that work in a health-related field may include settings that are not usually part of prevocational training for junior doctors in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Postgraduate work undertaken in a public health-related role is likely to be favourably considered.
Examples of the settings outside of usual prevocational training that might be acceptable may include, but are not limited to, the following: health related non-government organisations (such as the World Health Organization) and refugee health providers.
A position description should be provided for any position that is outside of a usual prevocational training setting.
Can locum work be recognised as clinical experience?
Locum work is unlikely to meet the CPMEC criteria as it’s usually unstructured training and lacks supervision. It’s difficult to determine whether the required competencies and professional development for a prevocational doctor had been achieved through their locum work.
Can telehealth consultations be recognised as clinical experience?
Maybe. Telehealth consultations provided by general practitioners and specialists in response to COVID-19 restrictions may be acceptable if your clinical setting included capacity for face-to-face consultations and appropriate supervision.
Time spent working in services that solely provide telehealth consultations, where neither face-to-face patient contact nor appropriate supervision were provided, are unlikely to meet the requirements for previous clinical experience.
To discuss your situation, contact PublicHealth@racp.edu.au
Can a surgical assistant position be recognised as clinical experience?
No. While surgical assisting may provide patient contact, it does not allow for the development of independent decision-making skills under supervision. The development of these skills under supervision is a training requirement prescribed by CPMEC.
Can a home doctor service position be recognised as clinical experience?
No. Working for a home doctor service doesn’t meet the CPMEC criteria as it is unstructured training that lacks supervision and a structured assessment process.
Is part-time prevocational training allowed?
Yes, as long as your part-time work, which is calculated at a pro rata basis, meets the training period full-time equivalent for clinical experience.
Further information on accredited prevocational training sites/positions is available through the Postgraduate Medical Councils for each state and territory in Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand.