Trainee Support FAQs
Please browse our FAQs to find out how the Training Support Unit can support you.
Trainees and SIMGs: ever thought about contacting the Training Support Unit (TSU), but you weren’t sure if they could help?
Supervisors: have you ever been concerned about a trainee or SIMG’s wellbeing and wanted someone to talk to?
Our FAQs are here to help!
If you need support and would prefer to speak to someone outside the College, you can contact Converge International, specialists in psychology and wellbeing. Your first four sessions within a 12-month period are paid for by the College. All sessions are entirely confidential.
What does the Training Support Unit do?
The Training Support Unit (TSU) is a point of contact for trainees or SIMGs who are having difficulty with their training. This may be a personal issue impacting training, a workplace or training issue, or a combination.
You can contact the TSU for a confidential conversation. TSU staff will:
Assess: talk through the issue with you and establish the outcome you’re seeking
Support: suggest options you might not have considered and discuss what you might like to do next
Refer: to another College staff member if they are best placed to respond
At all stages, you decide your course of action. TSU staff will only escalate a matter if you agree, unless your own, a patient’s or someone else’s safety is at risk. In these situations, TSU staff will discuss next steps with you.
Who does the Training Support Unit support?
The Training Support Unit supports trainees in all our training programs:
Certificate of Women’s Health
The TSU also supports partially comparable SIMGs.
Our Wellbeing Coordinator supports substantially comparable SIMGs. Please contact our Wellbeing Coordinator at email@example.com or phone +61 3 9114 3939.
Does the Training Support Unit support SIMGs?
Yes! We support SIMGs assessed as ‘partially comparable’. We can’t answer questions about the SIMG assessment process because we are not the experts in this complex area. We’ll refer assessment questions to the SIMG team, while providing you with ongoing support. You can contact the SIMG team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Wellbeing Coordinator supports SIMGs assessed as ‘substantially comparable’. Please contact our Wellbeing Coordinator at email@example.com or phone +61 3 9114 3939.
How do I contact the Training Support Unit?
Is the Training Support Unit confidential?
Yes, unless there’s an imminent risk to someone’s health or safety. It’s important that trainees and SIMGs to feel safe to contact the TSU.
Rest assured that your conversations with the TSU are confidential. We will only escalate a matter or share information if you agree.
If you would like to be anonymous, please hide your number before you phone us.
How we record data
We generally note your contact with us in a highly confidential spreadsheet. We record this information so that:
if you contact us again, we have your contact history
We can identify themes on where the College can improve.
The spreadsheet is locked down to select staff members in People and Wellbeing. It is completely separate from the training arm of the College. No identifying data is shared with other parts of the College, unless you expressly give us permission.
The TSU reports deidentified data and themes to the Trainees’ Committee and the College Training Accreditation Committee, to improve trainees’ experience in training. No identifying data is ever included in these reports.
If you have any concerns about how we record data, please let us know. We will respond to ensure you feel safe accessing the Training Support Unit.
I’m concerned about the wellbeing of a trainee or SIMG. How can I connect them to College support services?
If you’re concerned about a trainee or SIMG and think they might benefit from connecting to the TSU, you can forward them the TSU’s details or get their consent for the TSU to contact them.
If you’re on the phone, you can ask, ‘Would you welcome a call from someone in the Training Support Unit?’
If you’re communicating via email, you can use or adapt this text:
“The RANZCOG Training Support Unit (TSU) is a confidential service for trainees and SIMGs to discuss any concerns related to their wellbeing. You can contact the Trainee Liaison on +61 (08) 6102 2096 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the TSU FAQs to find out more. If you would welcome contact from the TSU, please let me know.
If you need support and would prefer to speak to someone outside the College, you can access RANZCOG’s Member Support Program via Converge International, specialists in psychology and wellbeing. All sessions are entirely confidential, and your first four sessions within a 12-month period are paid for by the College. To contact Converge, call 1300 687 327 (Australia), 0800 666 367 (Aotearoa New Zealand) or from other countries on +61 3 8620 5300. You can also request a session via the Converge website.
RANZCOG’s member wellbeing hub contains a host of resources to help you take care of yourself, including a list of external support services in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Who should I contact if the matter is urgent and it’s outside of business hours?
If you need urgent help outside of business hours, please call:
Suicide Call Back Service ph. 1300 659 467 (Australia)
Lifeline ph. 13 11 14 (Australia)
Suicide Crisis Helpline ph. 0508 828 865 (Aotearoa New Zealand).
RANZCOG trainees (including CWH and DRANZCOG), SIMGs and Fellows can contact Converge 24 hours a day on:
1300 687 327 (Australia)
0800 666 367 (Aotearoa New Zealand)
+613 8620 5300 (overseas)
Australian members (including Diplomates) can access Drs4Drs Telemedicine support on:
How does the TSU support candidates preparing for an exam?
You can confidentially discuss any personal concerns with us about the exam and your preparation for it. We’ll support you to address your concerns in a way that works for your circumstances. We’ll also enquire about the strength of your support network.
You can access exam preparation resources:
Our member wellbeing hub contains a host of resources to help you take care of yourself, including a list of external support services in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
For questions about exam administration and processes, please contact the assessments team at: email@example.com.
Click on the links below for information on:
There was an incident during my exam — how can the TSU support me?
If you experienced an incident during your written or oral exam, you can talk to us about what happened and how it affected you. If you decide to apply for special consideration on the grounds of exceptional circumstances, you can access the application form on our website.
The assessments team manages the special consideration process. If you have questions about the process, please contact the assessments team at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve failed an exam — how can the TSU support me?
If you’ve failed an exam, we provide a confidential and supportive space for you to reflect on how you are feeling and on your exam performance. We’ll explore your next steps with you, such as changes you might make for your next attempt. If you’ve failed your final attempt, we’ll support you through the College’s Progression Review Committee process.
Social support is crucial at this time, so we’ll ask about the strength of your support network.
You can request verbal feedback within three weeks of being notified of an unsuccessful examination attempt. Read the Examinations Verbal Feedback Policy to find out more.
For questions about exam administration and processes, please contact the assessments team at: email@example.com.
Click on the links below for information on:
How can the TSU support me when …
… my last six-monthly assessment was unsatisfactory?
The TSU will reach out to you to see if you’d like to talk confidentially about how you’re feeling and how you found your previous training term. Together, we can talk through the challenges of your previous term and explore what factors you could potentially modify for your next rotation.
We can also support you through the process of creating a Learning Development Plan with your training supervisor.
We want you to embark on your next training term with a clear idea of what you need to improve and with the right supports in place for you. Many trainees who have received an ‘unsatisfactory’ outcome for a six-monthly assessment have gone on to become skilled and successful Fellows.
… I’ve been referred to the College Training Accreditation Committee regarding my training progress?
You’re most welcome to contact the TSU to debrief confidentially about how you’re feeling. You might feel anxious, upset or scared about the referral. We’re here to support you before and after the meeting.
You will have the option to make a written submission to the College Training Accreditation Committee. We encourage you to do this. Given the impartiality of the TSU, we can’t advise you on what to include in your submission. Generally, we recommend you outline any circumstances that affected your training and include evidence that backs up your claims (if applicable). You may include references or letters of support.
… I’ve received unexpected negative feedback?
Unexpected negative feedback can be a shock and can really knock your confidence.
Sometimes you won’t know who gave the feedback, for example, if it is part of a consultant survey for a six-monthly assessment or in a three-monthly appraisal. If the feedback is deidentified, your training supervisor is a good person to talk to about the feedback. They will have aggregated feedback from several consultants, and might be able to give you their assessment of your performance and skills. If needed, they can work out a plan with you to address the feedback. It’s best to have this conversation in private and to give your supervisor advance notice of what you’re wanting to discuss.
If you know who gave you the feedback, you could ask them to meet with you to find out more, if you feel comfortable to do so.
See the Acquire module, ‘Feedback for Trainees’ for tips on receiving feedback, including a section on how you can actively participate in feedback discussions.
Have compassion for yourself; it takes courage to ask for feedback. It shows self-awareness and responsibility. You can always contact the TSU to get support and talk it over.
… I’ve been referred to the Progression Review Committee?
You will have received a letter from the relevant committee Chair to let you know that you’ve been referred to the Progression Review Committee (PRC). It’s common to feel anxious, scared or distressed when you receive this news.
The TSU contacts everyone who has been referred to the PRC. Look out for an email from us asking if we can call you, to find out how you are and what supports you have around you. If you don’t want to talk to us, you don’t have to.
Your referral letter will outline next steps and who to contact with questions about the PRC hearing.
… my training supervisor has recommended we prepare a Learning Development Plan?
You can talk to the TSU about how you found your previous training term and any feedback you received.
The most effective Learning Development Plans are a collaboration between a trainee and their training supervisor. The TSU can support you to seek specific and actionable feedback from your training supervisor.
We want you to embark on your next training term with a clear idea of what you need to improve and with the right supports in place for you.
You can download the template and guidelines from our Current Trainees webpage. Click on the first section, ‘Learning Development Plans’.
… I’m returning from extended leave?
… I’m having difficulty with my research?
If you’re struggling with your research project, talk to your research supervisor first. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, please contact Training Services at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re seeking an extension for your research requirement, please complete a special consideration application, address it to the College Training Accreditation Committee and submit it to Training Services at: email@example.com
You can read about your research requirements here.
I’ve been bullied, harassed or discriminated against in my workplace — how can the TSU support me?
RANZCOG’s Code of Conduct sets out our expectation that all members will act in line with our values and treat their colleagues with respect.
There are several ways you can respond if you’ve experienced or witnessed bullying, harassment or discrimination (BHD). When you contact us, we’ll clarify the outcome you are seeking. We can talk you through the options and discuss which one is right for you.
You may be worried about suffering detriment if you make a complaint. Rest assured that your conversations with the TSU are confidential. At all stages, you decide your course of action. The TSU will only escalate a matter if you agree, unless your own, a patient’s or someone else’s safety is at risk.
You can complain to several bodies:
RANZCOG: you can complain to RANZCOG about a breach of our Code of Conduct; however, if another body (such as your employer) is currently investigating the matter, RANZCOG generally would not start its own investigation. See our Complaints Policy for more information.
your employer: see your employer’s policies. Employers are legally responsible for providing a safe workplace, including an environment free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.
If RANZCOG finds that someone has breached its Code of Conduct, sanctions can apply. For more information on sanctions, BHD definitions and support options, see our Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy.
We also have a BHD resource guide that sets out:
College member roles and responsibilities
how to be supportive bystander.
If it’s suitable, you could consider speaking to the person who carried out the behaviour. The RACS Speak Up app helps doctors prepare for such conversations; it’s available from the Apple Store or Google Play. We acknowledge that the app will be appropriate for some, but not all situations.
With your permission, the TSU can pass on feedback to the College’s accreditation team. If the feedback indicates that a training site may not be meeting our accreditation standards, the College has several interventions it can carry out, ranging from writing to the training site to conducting an out-of-cycle hospital visit. See ‘Ongoing monitoring of training sites’ in the Accreditation Standards & Guidelines for Hospitals in the FRANZCOG Training Program for more information.
I’m experiencing a workplace issue — can the Training Support Unit help?
The lines between what is a workplace or College issue are not always clear. We have provided some general information here; we encourage you to contact us to talk through which agency would be best placed to respond to your concern.
Employers are legally responsible for providing a safe workplace, including an environment free from bullying, harassment and discrimination. The College has limited jurisdiction in workplace issues. However, all RANZCOG members and trainees are bound by the RANZCOG Code of Conduct, which counts bullying, harassment and discrimination as unacceptable behaviours, including if they occur in the workplace.
You can complain to RANZCOG about a breach of our Code of Conduct. However, if another body (such as your employer) is currently investigating the matter, RANZCOG generally would not start its own investigation. See our Complaints Policy and our Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy for more information.
For industrial matters such as rostering or access to leave, the Australian or NZ medical associations may be able to help you if you’re a member. Please visit our member wellbeing hub for your local medical association contact details.
RANZCOG accredits hospitals to deliver FRANZCOG training, and training units to deliver subspecialist training. Hospitals need to meet our standards to ensure that trainees can access the resources, clinical experience and learning environment to complete their training.
RANZCOG requires that training sites have zero tolerance for workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination. The training site also needs to have policies and processes to identify, investigate and resolve issues of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Where RANZCOG receives information that indicates that the hospital may not be meeting the requirements of the standards, the RANZCOG accreditation team will gather further information and may intervene, from writing to the hospital about a specific issue, to holding an out-of-cycle visit. See ‘Ongoing monitoring of training sites’ in the Accreditation Standards & Guidelines for Hospitals in the FRANZCOG Training Program for more information.
Many medical defence organisations offer legal advice to their policy holders.